At this year's Computex Intel announced a "new" category of notebook computer designed to further blur the lines between traditional notebooks and tablets: the Ultrabook. Requirements for an Ultrabook are straightforward: it needs to be thin and light, it needs to have an SSD and it needs to be available at less than $1000. Think MacBook Air, but for all manufacturers. Intel eventually wants Ultrabooks to mimic the always on, always connected features of tablets and smartphones, but concedes it'll take a couple of years to get there.

The first Ultrabooks will ship this year, including ASUS' new UX Series in late September. We'll see more performance and features next year with Ivy Bridge, and the segment will really go mainstream with Haswell in 2013.

Tonight Intel Capital is announcing the creation of a $300M Ultrabook Fund to help further innovation in this space. The funds will be available over the next 3 - 4 years for both startups and established companies across the globe. Intel Capital wants to invest in companies "building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with Ultrabooks such as through sensors and touch, achieving all day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity." Basically if you've got an idea that could make Ultrabooks cooler than a regular thin and light notebook, Intel Capital wants to talk to you.

Startups looking to get in touch with Intel Capital to get some of that Ultrabook money should visit Intel Capital's website and/or send an email to

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  • solipsism - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    No requirement from Intel that it uses a Core processor?

    What this looks like to me is that no single vendor could match Apple's economy of scale to make $1000 ultra thin notebooks from a milled piece of metal viable while Intel also is seeing ARM push toward faster more viable notebook options with OSes moving to support the architecture. So this is Intel fronting the investment for getting Mac-like construction that can be achieve economy of scale by using a near identical chassis framed for multiple vendors.
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Intel owns the Ultrabook trademark and Atoms are specifically excluded. Presumably the only way you would qualify for funding is if you're working on a design using a Core processor, or whatever succeeds it with Haswell and beyond.
  • Wizzdo - Wednesday, August 10, 2011 - link

    Yup. Is it legal to subsidize other companies to buy your own chips? Sounds fishy.
  • Pirks - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    With MBA price starting at $999, are you serious Anand? Or did you just make a bad joke? I don't understand this phrase of yours given the MBA's base price of $999. Is it not "for everyone" for you or what? I don't get it, sorry.
  • NewBro - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Perhaps he was referring to those who don't use mac?
    Why are people so sensitive when it comes to Apple and their products?
  • Pirks - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    "it needs to be available at less than $1000. Think MacBook Air, but for everyone"

    MacBook Air is less than $1000 ALREADY.

    Hence Anand failed. Agree with my logic? No?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    It's a little of both:

    The MacBook Air isn't for everyone as not everyone is an Apple/OS X fan. Yes you can run Windows on the MBA but that does up the cost a bit as you've got to include Windows licensing in the figure.

    On the pricing side, the $999 MBA gets you 2GB of memory and an 11-inch chassis. The 4GB models as well as the 13-inch models are all above $999. I'm expecting 11 & 13-inch Ultrabooks, with 4GB of memory, below the $999 price point if Intel & friends can pull this off.

    I'll clear up the sentence though to avoid confusion :)

    Take care,
  • Pirks - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Thanks for clearing it up Anand, you're the best, as always :)

    *thumbs up*
  • name99 - Thursday, August 11, 2011 - link

    Because they have become so irritated by the continued stupidity of their opponents. We've had what, 25 years now of unremitting backward-lookingness from these people --- and yet still they feel their opinions are valuable.

    Let's just look at this ultra book category. The first macbook airs come out and we hear a chorus of "no-one will ever want a device this limited" --- now every Apple competitor is running scared. We heard that optical disks were VITAL VITAL VITAL --- no ultrabook will have them. With the new form factor SSD, we heard that Apple were pure evil for giving up on standard SATA form factor --- well, guess what, ultrabooks are going to use µSATA and they're not going to have user-replacable SSDs. etc etc etc --- it never freaking ends.

    The story is always the same. The peanut gallery tell us how vitally important it is to maintain a link withs some outdated piece of technology from ten years ago; the Apple product sells insanely well --- because it turns out customers actually appreciate the advantages that come from saying goodbye to the past --- and three years later the peanut gallery is telling us it was all their idea to make the changes, that Apple "stole" their brilliant forward-thinking vision.

    Heck, look at what's happening with SATA Express for another example. It's just a matter of time before we see direct-to-Thunderbolt SSDs --- SATA Express is the first step to that.

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