At Computex this year, we saw Intel introduce a new category of ultrathin laptops it dubbed ultrabooks, with ASUS’ 11.6-inch UX21 serving as the vanguard machine. Neither company, however, cared to offer us a price at the time, which cast some doubt over the potential price competitiveness of ultrabooks. That worry has now been allayed by the Financial Times, which reports that ASUS intends to offer "five to seven" ultrabook models with prices between $799 and $1,999. Of course, the top-spec UX21 will likely be priced closer to the higher number, but it’s comforting to hear that there’ll be something for the more budget-conscious among us as well.
Lest we all get too optimistic about the future dominance of ultrabooks, ASUS CEO Jerry Shen has rung a note of caution. Intel’s projection is that 40 percent of next year’s laptop market will be served by ultrabooks, but Shen has expressed some concern about the complexity of designing (heat dissipation being a major issue) and manufacturing the super-thin machines. In his estimation, only 20 percent of ASUS laptop shipments next year will be of the "ultra" variety, with 2013 being a more realistic timeframe for mass market penetration. That still strikes us as a good start for what’s looking to be a set of mostly high-end computers; if things pan out as Shen foresees them, ultrabooks will have fared a great deal better than Intel’s previous big push for slim laptops: the ill-fated and generally overpriced range of Core 2 Duo CULV machines.