Intel Pins a Lot of Hopes onto Ultra-Portable Notebooks for Consumers

Intel Has High Expectations for Consumer-Oriented Ultra Low Voltage Platform

by Anton Shilov
04/15/2009 | 03:29 PM

Intel Corp. has rather high expectations for its forthcoming ultra low voltage computing platform for notebooks aimed at consumers (CULV). The company claims that while the new systems will be priced attractively, they will be much more powerful and capable compared to netbooks.


“The big trend in notebooks this year, starting midyear, is likely to be very well designed thin-and-light notebooks, using the CULV, or ultra low voltage products […], I think, you will see those at very attractive price points, [whereas], up to this point in time, those machines have been sort of executive jewelry,” said Paul Otellini, chief executive officer and president of Intel Corp. during the most recent conference call with analysts.

It is correct that traditionally ultra low-voltage processors have been used for ultra-portable notebooks aimed at business users who need long battery life amid sufficient performance and functionality. Many of such ultra-portable computers are state-of-the-art pieces of engineering and employ the latest technologies to provide excellent reliability, stability, battery life, security and other qualities that have tremendous value for those on the road.

Many consumers these days value style most of all, but would also like to have sleek and slim mobile computers. Since CULV products will enable stylish ultra-portable for consumers, those users who demand style should be really glad.

However, the majority of consumers value performance or portability and consumer-oriented low-voltage notebook platforms provide neither: they will not be able to match typical notebooks in terms of performance and they will be considerably larger than netbooks based on Intel Atom. Moreover, since consumer-oriented platforms have to be affordable, system makers will not implement their state-of-the-art technologies, such as active hard disk drive protection, powerful yet light batteries, high-quality materials and so on, to keep the costs down, which will make the notebooks somewhat less attractive in general.

As the head of the chipmaker, Mr. Otellini naturally does not address implementation-specific questions regarding design, battery life and so on. However, he said that the new CULV-based laptops will hit the mainstream price-points and they will also be easily distinguishable from Intel Atom-based netbooks.

“I think they will hit mainstream consumer price-points, and [there] will be a more clear distinguishing set of characteristics between netbooks and notebooks,” Mr. Otellini claimed.