Report: HP to beat Asus to the punch with ultrabooks

At Computex in late May, Intel said it would begin pushing a new category of laptops called ultrabooks—systems that are "thin, light, and beautiful," measure less than 0.8" in thickness, and cost under $1,000. While the first such machine we saw on display was Asus' UX21, DigiTimes now claims that HP is quietly preparing to beat Asus to the punch with some ultrabooks of its own.

The DigiTimes story quotes anonymous sources from Taiwan's component suppliers as saying HP is "likely to pioneer" the ultrabook concept by releasing "two, or more" systems before the UX21's expected September release. Word is that those HP ultrabooks will feature Core i7-2637M and Core i7-2677M processors from Intel. (Those are 17W dual-core, quad-thread Sandy Bridge parts with respective clock speeds of 1.7GHz and 1.8GHz.) Foxconn will reportedly handle manufacturing duties, while its rival Pegatron Technology will produce the Asus UX21.

Frankly, if Intel's serious about the whole ultrabook thing, having HP front and center makes sense. That company is, after all, top dog in the PC market by a fair margin. Taiwanese hardware makers might have been first out of the gate with Atom-based netbooks a few years ago, but that was different—unproven market and all that. Ultrabooks seem like a safer bet, especially considering all the attention the MacBook Air keeps getting.

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