Intel plans on pushing Ultrabooks in a big way this holiday season. Speaking last week at the Intel Solutions Summit in Los Angeles, Intel VP Kirk Skaugen said that various Ultrabooks powered by the chipmaker’s fourth-generation Core, or “Haswell,” processors will sell at the end of the year with a starting price of $599.
Reaffirming announcements Intel previously made at CES, Skaugen claimed that the newest Ultrabooks will require touchscreen support and come with zippy solid-state drives, higher-resolution displays, “all-day” battery life and other improved features.
Skaugen further said that while earlier Ultrabooks – which were largely introduced as high-end thin notebooks designed to counter the MacBook Air – were \”just a retrofit of what was already in the market,\” the new features and lower prices of these new machines will make them much more appealing to consumers.
The lessened cost of entry should make Ultrabooks more appealing to those in the market for a cheap yet technically impressive laptop, but that’s just thing – more and more people in that lower price range aren’t looking for laptops in the first place.
It’s been documented multiple times in the past, but Intel’s biggest issue isn’t other laptops, it’s tablets. PC sales are largely stagnating as more consumers switch to relatively cheaper but still capable slates like the iPad and Nexus 7. That’s forced companies embedded in the PC market like Intel to adapt to consumers’ changing needs by making machines like Ultrabooks slimmer, more touch-friendly and the like.
That competition from tablets is likely the rationale behind the lower prices. Whether or not they’ll result in a resurgence for laptops remains to be seen, but for now Intel looks to be facing an uphill battle.