Upstream supply chains have revealed that Intel plans to ship 20-30 million ultrabook units this year. In addition, the chip maker expects to double or even triple its distribution by next year.
It was also reported that the second generation of ultrabooks will be released after May 2012, and a tablet-ultrabook hybrid is expected to arrive during the fourth quarter of the year. This will be in line with Microsoft’s official announcement of its Windows 8.
Intel’s Ultrabook Development Efforts
It’s a no-brainer that Intel is looking for technologies that could hype up the development of super thin notebooks. They are reinforcing the use of plastic chassis and ultrathin optical disc as a device component.
The ultrabook design specification was announced last May 2011, in order to compete against Apple’s MacBook Air and iPad. CEO Paul Otellini stated:
“Ultrabook are reinventing computing with new form factors, high performance, better battery life, advanced security and other exciting new features. With more than 21 designs already shipping and more than 100 designs in the pipeline for 2012, we’re very pleased with our progress, and yet this is just the beginning.”
The initial target for ultrabook sales was to reach 40% of the consumer laptop’s market share. However, this year’s sales could be threatened, as Apple is intent in releasing a thinner and lighter MacBook Pro. Designed to adapt the components of their MacBook Air, the Cupertino-based company will roll out its redesigned 15-inch MacBook Pro in a couple of weeks. Furthermore, it was reported that the device will feature Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor.
Looking forward to more Intel-powered Ultrabooks
Earlier this week, Otellini said that its next-generation processor, the Ivy Bridge, is bound for desktop computers. Then a second wave of next-generation processors will hit “mainstream notebooks.”
He was also asked about the chip maker’s long-term prospect for the consumer markets, and how ultrabooks can compete against tablets.
“If you look at people buying tablets today, particularly in the iPad arena, there are people that have started out with PCs and very often still use PCs and its complimentary devices. How that unfolds two or three years from now, I don’t think anyone knows.”
So whether Intel will combine the convenient capabilities of a tablet with the usefulness of a keyboard is yet to be known. Nevertheless, their Ivy Bridge processors will take ultrabooks as their key target consumer platform. The chip maker is expected to unveil their Ivy Bridge processor next week.