Ultrabooks Get Cheap as Toshiba Portege Z835 Drops Below $700 in the US

Ultrabooks, slim and light laptops built around a similar design principle as the MacBook Air and featuring Intel technology, are beginning to drop in price already with Best Buy dropping the cost of a Toshiba Portege Z835 down to just $699.

While not yet available at that price in the UK, the offer - which takes the form of a $200 instant rebate available in store this week - indicates that retailers, if not manufacturers, are aware that the premium-priced ultraportables are a difficult sell in the current market and are looking to shift stock during the run up to Christmas.

"It could be to spur sales. It could be to get people's attention. But it's a smart move and by far the most affordable ultrabook option right now," explained Gap Intelligence analyst Deron Kershaw to CNET on the move.

The Ultrabook concept, which takes a new generation of the same technology Intel developer for Apple's ultra-thin MacBook Air laptop and makes it available to third-party OEMs and ODMs, is a tempting one - but with non-sale prices still sitting towards the higher end of the market, the concept has some way to go before it proves its success.

With OEMs and ODMs complaining of high component prices from Intel, combined with the current hard drive shortage as a result of flooding in Thailand, a price cut across the board doesn't look likely until the second half of 2012 - meaning those after an Ultrabook should keep an eye out for deals like Best Buy's.