Intel's "Letexo" Ultrabook hybrid will probably cost around $1000 when it hits the market.
Shortly after Intel wrapped up IDF 2012 in Beijing, Gary Richman, Director of Marketing for Intel’s PC Client Solutions Division, spoke with Wired about that cool tablet/Ultrabook prototype codenamed "Letexo" Intel displayed during the show. He said that it would probably cost Intel's maximum Ultrabook retail limit -- around $1,000 -- when it eventually hits store shelves.
As Wired points out, Letexo is a codename for Cove Point. The device seen at the Intel show was sporting Windows 8 Customer Preview and packed with an early sample of Intel’s upcoming Ivy Bridge CPU. Other hardware specs included a 12.5-inch touch screen, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. Also seen was a Windows icon located at the bottom of the screen which may bring users back to the main Windows 8 screen when the device is in tablet mode.
"When we started talking about Ultrabooks last year, we talked about different form factors, and touch and convertibles,” Gary Richman, Director of Marketing for Intel’s PC Client Solutions Division, told Wired. “This has been an evolution over time. Ultrabooks were never meant to be just clamshell designs."
The design is definitely hot, and could be what consumers are looking for when considering the purchase of a new laptop, a new tablet or both. Why not have the best of both worlds? As an Ultrabook, Cove Point (Letexo) is super-slim and super-light with a little Star Trek aesthetics thrown into the chassis itself. The screen slides forward and sits nice and flush on top of the keyboard, creating a solid, streamlined tablet experience. The screen also slides forward, blocking access to the keyboard and creating an all-in-one PC experience, thus making Microsoft happy by supporting the screen with a sturdy prop.
"Where we see the future of computing going, with tablets and Windows 8, is the importance of the touch experience," Richman said. "[With Cove Point] we were looking to define the compelling form factors, usages and benefits of having a notebook design, while taking advantage of the touch experience in Windows 8."
As reported last week, so far there's no indication that manufacturers have signed on to produce devices based on the prototype. Richman said he and his team have been working on the Cove Point project since last year, but we surmise that Microsoft has had something to do with the design as well based on reports stemming out of Taiwan. According to sources, Microsoft doesn't want a moving screen when users touch the Windows 8 Metro UI, and has been working with manufacturers to fix the problem.
With the price of Ultrabooks coming down this year and even more next year, we're wondering if the 1st-generation Ultrabook design will be discarded for this new Cove Point model. After all, if offers three form factors in one and seemingly merges the tablet and notebook sectors. If Intel manages to get the price down to high-end tablet levels, Apple may finally have a true competitor. Unfortunately, the initial price may be steep for some, but that should drop significantly next year.