Intel expects lower prices for 2-in-1 laptops

2013/07/29 20:38:15

Taipei, July 29 (CNA) Intel Corp. said Monday that it will host a symposium in Taipei this week with supply chain partners in a move to help reduce the costs of its 2-in-1 Ultrabook lightweight laptops.

The U.S. chipmaker said the ecosystem symposium is scheduled to be held July 30 and is expected to draw hundreds of participants from local suppliers.

The one-day event will discuss designs for 2-in-1 devices that can help switch seamlessly between laptop and tablet modes, as well as how to reduce the power consumption of processors and the weight of components used in the devices, according to Intel.

Zane Ball, Intel vice president and general manager of global ecosystem development, said at a press briefing that he expects the prices of 2-in-1 lightweight laptops to fall in the coming year because of lower component costs.

He said most companies in the ecosystem can currently deliver a price point of US$399 for 2-in-1 Ultrabooks, but added that it will be a challenge to get the price down to US$299.

The number of 2-in-1 Ultrabook products using Intel processors had grown to 15 as of June this year, and is expected to reach 60 in the coming year thanks to the launch of its fourth-generation Core processor, Ball said.

Intel showcased the fourth generation of its Core series at Computex Taipei, the world's second-largest IT trade show, June 4-8, in a bid to capitalize on growing demand for its 2-in-1 Ultrabook lightweight laptops.

2-in-1 Ultrabooks refer to ultra-thin notebook PCs with a detachable or convertible keyboard that can be transformed into a tablet when the keyboard is removed.

The new processors, which use 22-nanometer Haswell microarchitecture, will increase an Ultrabook battery's life by 50 percent and improve performance by up to 15 percent compared with the previous generation.

However, an analyst at tech tracking firm International Data Corp. (IDC) said in June that Intel's push for laptop-tablet hybrid computers powered by its new processors might not gain consumer traction in the near term.

Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for tablets in the United States, said the chipmaker is pushing strongly for both Windows notebooks and tablets because it realizes that it is competing with Apple Inc. products at the US$329 price level, and with Android device makers at under US$199.

He said most people would like to have a really good notebook and a really good tablet rather than a hybrid device.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
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