The first wave of ultrabooks is due this fall, and that’s exciting enough. I’m much more giddy about the second-gen models, though; we’ve heard that they’ll cost as little as $599, and DigiTimes now reports that fiberglass models are in store for early 2012. Word is that Acer will roll out a 15" fiberglass ultrabook in early 2012, and Asus also has a fiberglass machine in the works.
Using fiberglass for laptop shells seems like a tantalizing prospect if you consider the advantages of the material. As Wikipedia explains:
Fiberglass is a lightweight, extremely strong, and robust material. Although strength properties are somewhat lower than carbon fiber and it is less stiff, the material is typically far less brittle, and the raw materials are much less expensive. Its bulk strength and weight properties are also very favorable when compared to metals, and it can be easily formed using molding processes.
In fact, DigiTimes says fiberglass laptop enclosures are even cheaper to produce than aluminum ones, in the order of $20 per system. Take a tough and light fiberglass chassis, chuck in a fast and power-sipping 22-nm Ivy Bridge processor, and you could have the makings of a very appealing laptop.