Last week saw several notebook makers officially launch their first Ultrabook
models, which are thin and light laptops built around a set of Intel
guidelines and intended to compete with Apple
's MacBook Air. In order to do that, Intel wants these Windows-based machines to sell for less than $1,000. But how low do they really need to go to attract a mainstream audience?
It's a good question, and one of a handful CNet's Brooke Crothers asked IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell in a recent interview. Here's what he had to say regarding price:
"I think they need to be at $799 [to become a mainstream laptop]. And Intel's put some pretty tough guidelines in place (e.g., maximum thickness of 0.8 inches)," O'Donnell said. "Is there a way to relax the guidelines where it's still good enough but allows me to hit a better price point? So you can get close but make it $200 cheaper? That may be necessary."
Acer's recently announced Aspire S3 Ultrabook
By comparison, the cheapest MacBook Air is a $999 11-inch model, which is slightly larger than a netbook, but much more powerful. The least expensive 13-inch MacBook Air runs $1,299, and these are the notebooks the Ultrabook category will compete with.
According to O'Donnell, Ultrabooks still need to get cheaper, because even though a 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299, "the reality is that Apple owns the thousand-dollar-plus market. That's why it's so incredibly price sensitive and price dependent."
You can read the full interview here
, and then be sure to post your own thoughts in the comments section below.