Intel has refreshed an old form factor by giving it a new name; out goes CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) and in comes the Ultrabook.
The design is nothing new in itself since Apple and many Japanese manufacturers have had products that fit the concept for a few years now.
Intel however sees it as being the norm in a few years rather than an expensive niche segment. Ultrabooks are likely to adopt a few tricks from smartphones and tablets.
We expect them to come with built in 3G and 4G connections, use solid state drives initially and potentially hybrid models (possibly 1.8-inch) later and adopt a tapered, wedged design (like the MacBook Air).
Like tablets, they will also come with instant power on, a 10-hour plus battery life with two weeks or more on standby and a lack of connectors (expect USB 3.0, micro HDMI and Thunderbolt to be the more prevalent ones).
Ultrabooks will also have faster processors (compared to the Macbook Air for example) as well as smaller screens, possibly up to 13.3-inch. The UX21 which was showcased by Jonney Shih, the CEO of Asus, had a 10.1-inch screen. The resolution is likely to stand at 1366x768 pixels or 1280x800 depending on the screen size. As for pricing, we'd be surprised if Ultrabooks cost less than £800 or $1000, at least initially.
To some extent, the Ultrabook is an evolution of the netbook, which was also a partnership between Asus and Intel. They share a common DNA and the Ultrabook could have an even bigger impact on the market.