Updated 17 May, 2013, 7:53 pm IST
PC chipmaker AMD's
Targeting mainstream shoppers, thin laptops with AMD's chips, previously code named Trinity, are set to sell in the $600 range, similar to many of the bulkier laptops now on the market and significantly cheaper than the high-end, Intel-powered ones increasingly appearing in stores.
"It seems like an opportunity to steal the bacon and go in there and capture this huge opportunity that someone else generated," AMD Chief Executive Rory Read told Reuters in an interview. "They missed where the sweet spot of the market was."
Intel has coined "Ultrabooks" to refer to svelte laptops using its processors, with high-quality features like solid-state drives and metal cases.
AMD, always struggling to keep up with its much larger competitor, has been referring more generically to ultrathin laptops. Hewlett Packard
Enthusiast gamers can choose to setup SLI on the AMD platform
Intel, whose processors are used in 80 percent of the world's PCs, has invested $300 million in an investment fund to help smaller companies develop technology to use in future Ultrabooks. The chipmaker's executives last week said that by the holiday season, Ultrabooks will account for 40 percent of all consumer laptop sales. AMD's Read said prices for Ultrabooks would be too high for Intel to hit that target.
"You get up to those premium price points in a Windows type environment and there isn't the scale to do that. But if you get into mainstream, there's a big opportunity," Read said.
Intel executives told analysts at their annual meeting last Thursday that PC and component manufacturers in recent years focused too much on bringing down prices and forgot to add improved features to keep laptops exciting. Intel Vice President Kirk Skaugen, leading the Ultrabook push, said consumers would pay more for laptops with premium features, which next year will include touch displays.
"We think the experience we're delivering, people are going to be willing to pay for and it only gets better in 2013," he told investors.
"It ultimately comes down to whether Intel is going to be able to enable the supply chain to develop an Ultrabook that is competitive with the MacBook Air at whatever new low price they're going to be selling at," said Patrick Wang, an analyst at Evercore Partners.
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