Crisis averted—or so it would seem. Just a couple of days ago, word out in Taiwan was that PC makers would have a hard time peddling ultrabooks for less than $1,000 a piece. Today, DigiTimes has more uplifting news: Intel is going to meet notebook design manufacturers next week and outline reference ultrabook bill-of-material costs as low as $475.
Reportedly, Intel's reference BOM cost will be in the $475-650 range for 21-mm ultrabooks and a slightly pricier $493-710 for systems with 18-mm-thick chassis. Those prices don't include assembly costs, technical support, marketing, and so forth, but they ought to give notebook makers plenty of room to undercut Apple's MacBook Air laptops.
According to an analyst quoted by ComputerWorld last year, Apple's previous-gen 11.6" MacBook Air had a BOM cost of $718. The system sold for $999 yet still had the highest profit margin of any MacBook, the analyst claimed. Assuming those numbers are correct, and if a build-your-own-ultrabook kit sets PC makers back as little as $475, then I'm guessing we can reasonably expect ultrabooks to start at less than $800.
Now that would be more like it.