HP Ultrabooks to Race Against Apple’s MacBook Air

July 12, 2011, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

HP, it seems, is gathering stones to throw at an Apple tree!! Hewlett-Packard’s CEO was heard commenting on a design capable of rivaling MacBook Air.

We don’t know whether the device is just a concept now or in the furnace. But what we do know is HP’s chief executive, Leo Apotheker’s reply to a question.

During last month’s D9 conference, he was heard responding to a question thrown at him:  “If you use a state-of-the-art laptop it is as sleek, as slim as [an iPad]”. On asked whether HP owns such a laptop, he countered it with: “There’s a whole new product refresh coming out.”

Adding spice to his comments, a report from a Taipei-based DigiTimes spoke of “two or more” Ultrabooks lying in HP’s quiver. Now, the question; what is an Ultrabook?

Answer: Thin. Well, that would be our answer in one word.

According to Intel, Ultrabook combines the performance of a laptop with “tablet-like features” in a “thin, light, and elegant design”. Going technical, it means the Ultrabook has a maximum thickness of 20 millimeters or 0.8 inches; and most of the designs are expected to be thinner than that!

There are examples of Ultrabook-like devices already in the market. Samsung’s Series 9 is one of them. Asus is on the verge of pushing one out, named UX21, this fall. The UX21, an almost look-alike to the MacBook Air, is only 17mm at its thickest point and weighs just over 2 pounds.

The closest that HP has gotten to an Ultrabook in recent years is the 0.8-inch thick aluminum/magnesium-clad Envy 13, which was later discontinued. These fellows pack a solid-state drive, instant-resume, and battery-life extending power management.

Going by the report, Hewlett-Packard’s beauties will be sporting power-efficient Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processors and their manufacturing would be done at the hands of Foxconn Electronics.

Foxconn Electronics also manufacture’s products for Apple, and Cupertino is rumored to update their MacBook Air very soon with Intel Sandy Bridge processors. This move will ensure that they are still in the game with any Windows-based offering from HP, Samsung, or Asus.

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