Vendors wary as Intel bets big on Ultrabooks

Intel may be betting big on Ultrabooks, but a number of first-tier notebook vendors plan on limiting their initial shipments to well below 50,000 units.

According to DigiTimes , vendors such as Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba and Asus are concerned that notebook sales will lag in the fourth quarter – as Apple’s products continue to “take up all the glory in the market.”

As such, the vendors will use their initial shipments to “test the water” and determine if the Ultrabook can act as a viable competitor against Apple’s wildly popular Air.  

For its part, Intel continues to express confidence in the “ultra” form factor, which Santa Clara describes as a “new breed” of PC.

Of course, it remains unclear if consumers will opt to purchase a Windows 7-based Ultrabook over an OS X-powered MacBook Air.

Yes, the Ultrabook form factor may be sexy, and yes, the battery lasts longer than on traditional PC notebooks, but the MacBook Air is currently associated with Apple’s reputation for quality and the oft-repeated slogan “it just works.”

Then again, Intel may have little choice but to kick off its competition against the MacBook Air now – while the x86 playing field is still relatively level.

Indeed, if Apple eventually decides to equip power its MacBook Air with an ARM chip, Intel will have a difficult time matching battery power and (overall system) price with its x86 processors.