Some might say that Intel
Ultrathin, lightweight notebooks always sounded like a great idea, but not when they came with supersized price tags and minuscule battery life. Intel's latest promotional campaign highlights the lighter, thinner benefits of its low-voltage processor lineup. The push may steal thunder from rival Advanced Micro Devices
In a cheeky promotional video, Intel tells you to go ahead and watch movies while getting a tan, or get some work done at the coffee shop -- but don't serve sushi on that plate-like notebook, and don't use it as a bookmark. Very funny. Computers fitting this description are due to hit the market in June, offering longer battery life and better performance than current laptops, all wrapped in ultra-slim bodies.
Manufacturers will include household names Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and MSI, according to Intel's press materials, but I'm stunned by the omission of American heavyweights Dell
Also obvious by its absence is Apple
Early reports indicate the processor is actually a bad fit for the MacBook Air, since it packs an integrated graphics processor which probably doesn’t meet Apple’s graphics requirements. Given the size limitations of attaching a non-integrated graphics processor, Apple appears to be in a tough spot. Looks like Intel might be wedging its integrated graphics into its new chips at the expense of a key customer in the segment.
Regardless of who's missing what here, this is a crossroads for the thin notebook market. If AMD and Intel manage to revive this failed segment, laptops could start seeing better average selling prices. Notebook sales grew 43% in volume year over year last quarter, but the average laptop was 16% cheaper. This chip could be the right medicine to stall continuing netbook sales and their downward pull on prices.
Will it or won't it? I think cannibalization will largely cancel out market-widening gains, but feel free to disagree, expound, or pontificate on the matter in the comments below.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in AMD, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Intel is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool has written covered calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended writing puts on Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.