So far, Intel has an absolute monopoly on the ultrabook market. (You can even find the company’s chips inside the MacBook Air, from which many ultrabook makers seem to draw inspiration.) That stranglehold may loosen next year, though. A report by The Australian says AMD’s Australian arm "could unveil its first ‘Ultrathin’ line of notebooks in January"—and if that happens down under, chances are it’ll happen up here in North America, too.
The site quotes Brian Slattery, AMD’s Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, as saying AMD has been negotiating with "several manufacturers," and the position of one of those "was particularly advanced." Slattery noted that AMD is giving hardware makers more freedom to determine the design and internal configuration of their ultrathin notebooks than Intel. He went on to tout the benefits of AMD’s Radeon integrated graphics, though he stopped short of saying exactly what kind of chips will power these AMD ultrathins.
SemiAccurate reported last month that Apple originally intended to put an A-series AMD APU inside its latest MacBook Air, but supply and yield issues forced the Mac maker to go the Intel route. If that report was accurate, and yields have improved, perhaps AMD is in a position to supply low-voltage Llano chips to ultrabook makers. I believe that would be AMD’s best bet, since the company’s low-power E-series APUs are too slow to keep up with the Sandy Bridge chips inside today’s ultrabooks. (Thanks to Lilliputing for the tip.)