HP looks to beat Asus to the Ultrabook punch

HP is rumoured to be producing its own variation on Intel's Ultrabook theme, and is tipped to beat Asus to market with the first of the high-performance ultra-slim devices.

Although as-yet unconfirmed by HP, supply chain sources speaking to Taiwanese rumour-mill DigiTimes suggest that HP is planning on producing at least two different models of Intel Ultrabook. Both will feature Intel's specialist Core i7 dual-core CPUs - which include special design considerations for the ultra-slim, fanless laptops - in 1.8GHz or 1.7GHz flavours.

The design is currently unknown, but is unlikely to vary from Intel's reference Ultrabook implementation by much. As a result, it seems likely that it will feature the same design as the Asus UX21 unveiled at Computex in Taipei earlier this year.

DigiTime's sources suggest that HP is looking to beat Asus to market, despite not having yet announced the product or unveiled a design. Pointing to rumours of supply chain fulfilment, the site claims that HP could be looking to launch in the next few months ahead of Asus's planned September UX21 launch.

While it's easy to imagine the battle as between two major customer-facing brands - HP and Asus - the reality is somewhat different: it's already known that Asus is outsourcing production of the UX21 series to large-scale ODM Pegatron, and rumour has it that HP is doing the same and farming the initial production run out to Apple's favourite company Foxconn.

The real battle, then, is between ODMs Foxconn and Pegatron. Whichever can deliver the Ultrabook designs to its customers first will likely win future orders, while a delay in production could spell a loss in customer confidence that could prove fatal should the Ultrabook concept take off as Intel is hoping.

Neither HP nor Asus were able to comment on this story at the time of writing.