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Intel bets big on ultrabooks

Sharon Gaudin | Jan. 9, 2012
Intel will get a strong indication at next week's Consumer Electronics Show whether its decision to bet heavily on ultrabooks is a good one -- or not.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Gartner, noted that an ultrabook success would help Intel better compete with ARM, whose chips are now most popular on smartphones and tablets. "It would buy them time as they make inroads in these two markets," she added.

Analysts noted that as much as an ultrabook success would benefit Intel, a failure would put blunt its strategy.

"[A failure] would send Intel back to the drawing board to find a way to keep the x86 standard strong," noted Olds. "They need to have a presence in mobile devices because they drive so much volume. If ultrabooks are unsuccessful, it's not a death knell for Intel, but it just pushes them back a bit. Eventually, [though], it could cause serious problems."

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, added a failure in ultrabooks would lead prices of Intel and platforms to erode while giving the company a hard public relations hit.

"I am skeptical that Intel will achieve its stated goal of 40% of all laptops sold as ultrabooks by the end of 2012," said Moorhead. "There just isn't enough time to reposition a Windows laptop to compete with the MacBook Air and too much cost to dramatically lower the price."




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