Now that Samsung has set a time period for the launch of its Windows 8 tablet, everyone else wants in. At the Intel Capital Global Summit today, Intel CEO Paul Otellini said that touch screen “Ultrabooks” will be the main focus in the next year.

If you don’t know what an Ultrabook is, think MacBook Air. After Apple’s success with the MacBook Air, (its thinnest laptop available) other companies finally decided that they wanted in about six months to a year ago. Intel took the lead by developing special processors for Ultrabooks that would make them powerful, yet energy efficient.

No Ultrabooks have actually gone on sale yet, though, and Intel’s new processors are probably going to be pretty expensive, which will make the actual Ultrabooks more expensive than certain models of the MacBook Air.

Otellini noted the expensive price and said that to get more customers from the mainstream laptop market to buy Ultrabooks, they would have to get the price of the touch technology down. Otellini said, “To hit the volume price points, we need to span $699 and up, and that’s the goal for next year.”

$699 would be a great price point to be at. It would be about $200-300 lower than Apple’s lowest priced MacBook Air. To hit the volume price points, we need to span $699 and up, and that’s the goal for next year.” To get the price down to $699 would be pretty good. It would be about $200-300 lower than the lowest priced MacBook Air is right now.

Otellini explained just how Intel was going to do that, “To do that, we have to get touch to a lower cost. This is particularly important, as we move to the launch of Windows 8. The iPad and the iPhone have made touch a paradigm.”

Intel says that the launch of Windows 8 will make Ultrabooks a lot more popular, especially its new touch based ones. It will be kind of like one of those tablets with a detachable keyboard in the sense that when you just want to relax and enjoy media, you can just use the touch screen and Metro, but when you want to get a lot of work done you can use the keyboard and the classic desktop mode.

What I don’t understand is why Intel isn’t making the keyboard detachable. I mean it would make sense. Why would you want there to be a keyboard just awkwardly hanging there when you are using the touch screen, and I’m not sure how comfortable using the touch screen when holding the Ultrabook like any laptop would be.

Nevetheless Intel still tries to prove its touchscreen Ultrabook idea will work, “Starting with Windows 8, you have a mainstream operating system incorporating touch. Our view is that in the ultrabook lines, touch is a pretty critical enabler. When users see that new Windows interface, they’re going to want to touch it.

If the screen does nothing, you have disappointed [the] consumer,” Otellini said, “And in order for us to have an excited consumer at $699 and $799 price points, you have to be able to accelerate the reduction in [touch] cost.”


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