Intel first talked about Ultrabooks in May of this year and hopes that large numbers of the machines will be shipped through its partners like ASUS, Acer, and HP among others. So far, no Ultrabooks have hit the market, but they are coming. Intel originally promised the machines would sell for under $1,000.
There are concerns now that Intel might not be able to deliver on that price promise. Some makers that were working on Ultrabooks for consumers are now claiming that the machines can’t be made and sold for under $1,000 as Intel stated. Intel is now offering up the bill of materials (BOM) for reference design ultrabooks to prove the machines can be built and sold for under $1,000.
The Intel reference platform has a price for the BOM of as low as $475. The BOM doesn't include the cost of assembly or marketing. Intel plans to make a huge marketing push to promote Ultrabooks and the cost of that is worked into the $16 billion set aside for various programs this year.
Analyst Beau Skonieczny thinks Ultrabooks still have promise, noting, "By incorporating newer technologies, such as Thunderbolt [an I/O technology], 3-D transistors and next-generation Ivy Bridge [22-nm] processors, Intel is better positioned to take on higher-end tablet platforms and thin-and-light notebooks, such as Apple's iPad and MacBook Air products,” Skonieczny wrote. “Intel anticipates Ultrabooks will achieve about a 40 [percent] mix in the consumer market by the end of 2012; however, the success will be dependent on a quick ramp of volume sales to translate to lower prices for consumers."
The ultrabook platform has more than one reference system. The BOM for 21mm ultrabooks runs from $475 to $650. The BOM for thinner 18mm machines runs $493 to $710. These prices will allow the machines to be sold for under $1,000 according to Intel. Some makers are holding off on their machines until they see how the market reacts to the notebooks.