Asus: Ivy Bridge will usher in $600 ultrabooks

Talk of ultrabooks seems to be on everyone's lips lately, as systems from Acer, Asus, Toshiba, and others gear up for retail. Some of those machines will no doubt be solid deals, but the real bargains could come next year. As DigiTimes reports, Asus is planning to unleash ultrabooks priced as low as $600 next spring.

Word comes from none other than Asus CEO Jerry Shen, who quoted a price range of $600-900 for Asus' future Ivy Bridge ultrabooks. Those laptops will reportedly be out in April 2012. For reference, DigiTimes says Asus has "tentatively" priced its impending batch of Sandy-based ultrabooks at $899 and up.

If next year's ultrabooks indeed cost as little as $600, they could become dangerously tempting alternatives to cheaper, full-sized notebooks—especially if slim enclosures don't induce unsavory tradeoffs in terms of performance and battery life. There's definitely something to be said for an ultra-slim, ultra-light machine one can easily throw around on the couch or slip inside a messenger bag.

Perhaps this all has something to do with Intel's recently disclosed plans to shoot for 10-15W thermal envelopes with its future mobile chips. Right now, standard-voltage Sandy Bridge CPUs have 35W TDPs, and Intel slaps a premium on chips with 25W and lower thermal envelopes. If today's low voltage is tomorrow's standard voltage, then tomorrow's entry-level laptops will no doubt be slimmer and lighter.

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