Craig Stice, an analyst at HIS iSuppli, said one reason Ultrabooks didn't gain much traction was the $1,000 price tag. At a CES press conference yesterday, Kirk Skaugen, general manager of Intel's PC client group, acknowledged this misstep, announcing that the company's manufacturing partners will soon roll out "dozens of platforms [priced] below $750," including touch-enabled devices for $599. Ultrabooks made a big splash at last year's CES, but sales over the course of 2012 were disappointing. Intel yesterday made a determined bid to change all that.
Intel's Skaugen announced that the second-generation Ultrabooks would feature touchscreens and a convertible form factor, in addition to longer batter life.
Intel executives showed off a handful of convertible notebook/tablet Ultrabooks, including the Lenovo Yoga 11s and the Acer Aspire, whose screen can be detached from its keyboard to act as a 10-millimeter-thin Windows 8 tablet.
In terms of battery life, Intel delivered in this category, announcing that new, lower-power, third-generation processors shipping today will drop to 7 watts of power consumption. The previous generation consumed 15W, and many had expected the upcoming Haswell processor (which Skaugen said will launch within the next few months) to consume around 10W.
Skaugen showed a concept platform called Northscape that, even at 17 mm thin, boasted 13-hour battery life. The update is the largest increase in battery life Intel has ever made between two generations of the same processor, Skaugen said.