Asus: Ultrabooks will cost over $1,000

Intel’s main song and dance this year has been about its Ultrabook form factor, the tablet hybrid competitor unveiled at Computex in Taipei. But a company close to the conference, Taiwan’s Asustek, has suggested some damning details.

If Intel wants to keep up with the rest of the world, it needs to innovate, it said at Computex. It also admitted it has been slow to make the most of tapping into mobile. With its Ultrabooks, the Sandy Bridge powered machines come across as its vital hope to edge into the market. Pricing is key if it wants to go the distance.

Intel says the machines will be available for under $1,000. Asustek, a top PC manufacturer, said that’s unlikely at least for its version, the UX series.

The only way the UX Ultrabooks are going to sell for under $1,000 is if they use Intel’s Core i3 chips, a source familiar with UX development told the Taipei Times

The problem is if the UX is going to be a rival to the consumer seduction of the Macbook Air, it’s going to need decent i5 and i7 chips under the bonnet to keep the power up. And those can be pretty expensive. Then there’s AMD’s Fusion products and word from ARM that it is going to tackle the notebook market.

To be fair to Intel, it cleverly said that some Ultrabooks could retail for under a grand. Asustek may not be able to manage it but there’s a chance other manufacturers will.

Asustek expects its line to make an appearance in Taiwan at the end of September.