Intel Capital has established a $300 million Ultrabook Fund to help drive innovation in this new category of devices. The fund aims to invest in companies building hardware and software technologies focused on enhancing how people interact with ultrabooks, achieving all-day usage through longer battery life, enabling innovative physical designs and improved storage capacity.
“In 2003, the combination of Intel’s Centrino technology with built-in WiFi, paired with Intel Capital’s $300 million in venture investments and other industry enabling efforts, ushered in the shift from desktop PCs to anytime, anywhere mobile computing. Our announcement today is about Intel mobilizing significant investments to achieve the next historic shift in computing,” said Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC client group.
The overall goal of the fund, which will be invested over the next 3-4 years, is to create a cycle of innovation and system capabilities for this new and growing category of mobile devices.
Asus UX21 "ultrabook"
There are three key phases in Intel’s strategy to accelerate its vision for this new category. The company’s efforts begin to unfold this year with Intel’s latest Core i-series “Sandy Bridge” processors. This family of products is projected to enable thin, light and beautiful designs that are less than 21mm (0.8”) thick, and at mainstream prices. Systems based on these chips will be available for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season. Second and third generations of ultrabooks will be powered by Ivy Bridge and Haswell microprocessors, respectively.
“Ultrabook devices are poised to be an important area for innovation in the $261 billion global computer industry. The Intel Capital Ultrabook fund will focus on investing in companies building technologies that will help revolutionize the computing experience and morph today’s mobile computers into the next ‘must have’ device,” said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel executive vice president.
To ship ultrabook devices this year required significant collaboration amongst the entire computing industry. Intel has worked very closely with its customers to ensure that ultrabook devices deliver compelling and unique value to consumers. Many OEMs have been collaborating on this effort from the very beginning.
The first generation of ultrabooks will hardly be really impressive when compared to systems like Apple Macbook Air or Lenovo ThinkPad X1. Nonetheless, they will be a significant step forward for mainstream systems. Given the fact that a number of technologies along with high-quality materials are required to create ultra-thin laptops, Intel will need to help its partners to develop them or make their creation or usage economically feasible.
“Ultrabook takes the best technologies and marries them with sleeker designs and extraordinarily long battery life for a new kind of computing experience. This new type of personal computing aligns with our continual focus on engineering innovative laptop solutions that push the boundaries on mobility,” said Peter Hortensius, Lenovo’s product group president.