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Intel Zooming Back to Dominance with the Ultrabooks

Intel, the world's largest chipmaker had an impressive showing in the just concluded International Consumer Electronic Show with its latest product, the Ultrabook. According to the research firm IDC, sales of personal computers have been steadily declining while Apple Mac and iPad sales went up by 20 percent in 2011. Apple's Macbook Air is ultrathin, less than an inch thick and weighs just under 3 pounds. Intel created the Intel Ultrabook as a direct response to the iPad and Macbook Air.

Inside the Ultrabook technology is a low-energy chip and solid state hard drive instead of the bulky mechanical hard drive that adds to the weight and thickness of a laptop. Computer makers often use the design blueprint from Intel and so the internal arrangements of two laptops from different makers are most likely the same.

During C.E.S. 2012, Intel had on display several laptop brands from ASUS, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, LG, and even Acer, all with ultrathin laptops using the Ultrabook technology. In order to stave off competition, companies including Samsung are taking the opportunity as well. As they all struggle to make their laptops different from one another, what they are finding difficult is the high cost of producing a unit.

The average person is willing to pay under $600 for a laptop right now. Above that price is the super performing computers used mainly by gamers and professionals. PC makers are hoping to lure the average computer users with Ultrabooks. This will be difficult unless there is a huge price drop and that is what Intel wants to see.

Intel wants the Ultrabooks to be as low as $700. So far, available ultrabooks, on average, are as high as $1000. According to Intel, the company is working with computer manufacturers to bring down the prices. Recently, the MacBook Air was slashed to $1000 from a high of $1800. Intel will likely have to beat this price of $1000 to compete.

Other competitors are coming onboard too. The American chipmaker, AMD, is working on a class of processors called Trinity for ultrathin laptops that will make high performance computers available for as low as $500.

As Intel moves to the forefront trying to reclaim some market share, only time will tell if the Ultrabooks can cut into Apple's continual dominance of this market.

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