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Intel Creates $300 Million Fund to Make Ultrabooks

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 38 comments

Intel invests in the future of the Ultrabook.

There's a new segment of portable PCs coming soon, and they're called Ultrabooks. Intel took the wraps off of the design direction at Computex 2011 for exceptionally thin-and-light notebooks that take many design cues from Apple's MacBook Air.

Asus and Acer have already announced Ultrabook products, and there will be plenty more coming because Intel is pushing hard for the growth of this new segment that the chip giant believes will be 40 percent of the consumer laptop market segment by the end of 2012.

There was a concern that Ultrabooks won't be able to come in under the $1000 mark with compelling performance and features, but such worries will soon be put to rest. Intel today announced a $300 million "Ultrabook Fund" to help drive innovation in this new category of devices.

The Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund aims 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. The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a "cycle of innovation and system capabilities."

“Celebrating 30 years of innovation, the PC is the ultimate Darwinian device and Intel is striving to again reinvent mobile computing,” said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group. “In 2003, the combination of Intel’s Centrino technology with built-in Wi-Fi, paired with Intel Capital’s $300 million in venture investments and other industry enabling efforts, ushered in the shift from desktop PCs to anytime, anywhere mobile computing.  Our announcement today is about Intel mobilizing significant investments to achieve the next historic shift in computing.”

Intel detailed three key phases in the company’s strategy to accelerate its vision for this new category. The company’s efforts begin to unfold this year with Sandy Bridge processors, which paves the way for 0.8 inch (22 mm) thick notebooks at mainstream prices.

Systems based on these first-phase chips will be available for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season. There are reports that Intel has created reference Ultrabooks with a bill of materials that range from $475 to $710.

The second phase of Intel’s vision happens around the next generation Intel processor family codenamed “Ivy Bridge,” which is scheduled for availability in systems in the first half of 2012. Laptops based on “Ivy Bridge” will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security.

Intel’s planned 2013 products – codenamed “Haswell” – are the third step in the Ultrabooks progression and are expected to reduce power consumption to half of the “thermal design point” for today’s microprocessors.

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Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    oneblackened , August 11, 2011 3:58 AM
    chick0ninnovation ? what did Intel invent for the past 30 yrs really.

    Let's see...
    Out of order processing
    The x86 architecture (x86 starts with the 286 - the more basic form of the 8086 was not fully developed x86)
    Unified L2$ on dual cores
    SMT (ie, hyper threading)


    It's not like those are important or anything.
  • 13 Hide
    mikenygmail , August 11, 2011 4:22 AM
    Clearly, Intel is very worried about AMD's amazing new product, the APU which combines a CPU and GPU on one chip. Thanks to this technological breakthrough, gaming laptops are available for around $500-$600 that outperform and utterly destroy all competition anywhere near this price point.
  • 11 Hide
    Prince_Porter , August 11, 2011 5:02 AM
    More importantly, was it chocolate or regular milk?

    In all seriousness, I don't see this "ultrabook" thing taking off. I think they're putting too much faith in the product. The pitch is weak, being thin and consuming less power isn't "innovation", it's expected for laptops as they grow. I think they'll sell fine as thin, powerful laptops, but trying to pass them off as a new product is just silly.
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  • 2 Hide
    Yuka , August 11, 2011 3:22 AM
    So, it's USD$300M now to tie customers to a platform and make even more money in the long run?

    Come on Intel, stop doing that. Just fight with free market.

    Cheers!
  • 7 Hide
    CaedenV , August 11, 2011 3:35 AM
    Ya, so intel invests $300M in other companies and takes a portion of the rights of all of their patents and work, and likely forces them into a contract to use only their processors for the next 5-10 years... Good investment, but lets not try to pass it off as charity.
  • 0 Hide
    chick0n , August 11, 2011 3:39 AM
    It's going to end up on Apple's shelf. marketed as

    "We just invent another magical and revolutionary product, again"
  • -8 Hide
    chick0n , August 11, 2011 3:40 AM
    innovation ? what did Intel invent for the past 30 yrs really.
  • 18 Hide
    oneblackened , August 11, 2011 3:58 AM
    chick0ninnovation ? what did Intel invent for the past 30 yrs really.

    Let's see...
    Out of order processing
    The x86 architecture (x86 starts with the 286 - the more basic form of the 8086 was not fully developed x86)
    Unified L2$ on dual cores
    SMT (ie, hyper threading)


    It's not like those are important or anything.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 11, 2011 3:59 AM
    To chick0n, invention and innovation comes in many shapes and forms. For starter, you can read this

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Forbes/the-10-most-inventive-us-companies.aspx

    It helps to step out of the cave once in a while and look around.
  • 13 Hide
    mikenygmail , August 11, 2011 4:22 AM
    Clearly, Intel is very worried about AMD's amazing new product, the APU which combines a CPU and GPU on one chip. Thanks to this technological breakthrough, gaming laptops are available for around $500-$600 that outperform and utterly destroy all competition anywhere near this price point.
  • 8 Hide
    mikenygmail , August 11, 2011 4:29 AM
    For example Best Buy has an Asus K53TA-BBR6 laptop for $449.99 and free store pickup. It has an AMD Quad-Core A6-3400M APU and actually has a dedicated 1GB AMD Radeon 6650 graphics card, making it about as powerful as a superior laptop containing the more powerful A8 APU.
  • 1 Hide
    mikenygmail , August 11, 2011 4:33 AM
    Now that was a very fast response, how much is Intel paying you? :) 
  • 11 Hide
    Prince_Porter , August 11, 2011 5:02 AM
    More importantly, was it chocolate or regular milk?

    In all seriousness, I don't see this "ultrabook" thing taking off. I think they're putting too much faith in the product. The pitch is weak, being thin and consuming less power isn't "innovation", it's expected for laptops as they grow. I think they'll sell fine as thin, powerful laptops, but trying to pass them off as a new product is just silly.
  • -1 Hide
    Yuka , August 11, 2011 5:04 AM
    mikenygmailNow that was a very fast response, how much is Intel paying you?


    I actually agree with him about that... Intel doesn't care about AMD as a company. With moves like this one, they can just step over them and pass by to the next competitor. Why compete when you can just buy customers and OEMs (or sue them, lol)?

    Cheers!
  • 1 Hide
    webbwbb , August 11, 2011 5:11 AM
    With Centrino they offered support on product designs and gave cash bonuses to companies that came up with great designs. This will likely follow in those same footsteps because they proved that system works. they are investing $300 Million in vendor services to ensure that their newest product gains prominence.
  • 0 Hide
    DjEaZy , August 11, 2011 5:18 AM
    ... that's how intel work's... but now in more legal borders... but to make a fund to make copy's of macbook air? lawsuit!!! and don't matter, that apple uses intel... apple uses samsung too and sues it anyway...
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/apple-intel-future-roadmap-macbook,12780.html
  • 1 Hide
    evo_7 , August 11, 2011 5:23 AM
    webbwbbWith Centrino they offered support on product designs and gave cash bonuses to companies that came up with great designs. This will likely follow in those same footsteps because they proved that system works. they are investing $300 Million in vendor services to ensure that their newest product gains prominence.


    I'd have to agree but I'd also point out Intel got in huge trouble with anti-trust lawsuits in the US and Europe over rebates for using their chipset. I can see this as a more creative step in that direction as companies don't have to pay more into R&D and I won't doubt much of the R&D will center on intel chipsets solely.

    While I understand the majority of people do basic computer tasks, this drive towards slim, mobility is like the SUV in the US; its a huge fad of a trend and paying twice as much for portability and 1/3 versus your lightweight laptops just reinforces this idea that the ultraportables are "trendy" thing. I like my Toshiba Protege thank you.
  • 9 Hide
    beenthere , August 11, 2011 5:57 AM
    Intel calls this marketing funds. The FTC will call this bribe money when it sues Intel and wins again. And yes AMD's superior laptop products are a serious threat to Intel.
  • 1 Hide
    lutel , August 11, 2011 6:40 AM
    I hope they will go back to 4:3 screen ratio, which was perfect for development and web browsing.
  • 4 Hide
    ronch79 , August 11, 2011 6:44 AM
    So is this Intel using their money to make OEMs use its products exclusively again? I thought they already agreed with AMD to stop their underhanded, anti-competitive tricks. AMD was stupid to believe Intel will play fair.
  • 2 Hide
    liveonc , August 11, 2011 7:07 AM
    Call it MacIntel & call it a day, with their thunderbolt, mSATA SSD, Mac Logo & Intel Inside, yada-yada-yada. Let everybody else play Win/ARM/AMD-APU/Nvidia-Tegra/Linux/Games/Choice/Freedom/Value/Etc
  • 1 Hide
    jsc , August 11, 2011 7:32 AM
    lutelI hope they will go back to 4:3 screen ratio, which was perfect for development and web browsing.

    I'd like that too. I would much rather have a little more vertical space to work in.
  • 1 Hide
    Thunderfox , August 11, 2011 7:38 AM
    They want to cash in on the move toward small tabletlike devices while still selling something to the person who needs more than just a tablet. They probably also want to get these on the market before AMD's process technology catches up to a point to make them competitive in the tiny device space. The smaller you make it, the bigger Intel's advantage.
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