OEMs are recasting some systems as "ultrathins," but they still need chips.
Intel would probably prefer that everyone buys an Ultrabook or four. But, according to Stice, the goal of Intel's Ultrabook push is to re-invent the PC in order to bring to consumers the type of features and functionality—like touchscreen—that is currently the domain of non-traditional types of computers like smartphones and tablets.
If ultrathins take off and Ultrabooks flame out, the mission is still accomplished.
"I give Intel a lot of credit for what they are trying to do," Stice said. "They realize that the standard cookie-cutter type of a notebook that we've seen for the past decade was falling short of being competitive with all of these new ultra-mobile gadgets."
Of course, the real challenge for Ultrabooks, no matter how they are categorized, is competing with those ultra-mobile gadgets. Today's consumer seems very willing to part with a few hundred dollars for a smartphone or tablet in exchange for the functionality they provide. They also seem comfortable paying a few hundred dollars for the type of cookie-cutter notebook ubiquitous today.
Whether consumers on a large scale will prove willing to pay significantly more for something that melds the mobile experience with something more akin to that of a traditional PC is another matter. Particularly if that significantly more stays around $1,000.
"The challenge is creating ultra-competitive new computing gadgets in a price range that seems to be more attractive today's consumer," Stice said.