Windows-Based MacBook Air Competitors May Be Pricier than Anticipated

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The promise of Windows-based “ultrabooks” is an intriguing one. They’re coming later this year and they’ll sport super-thin, super-light designs similar to those found in Apple’s MacBook Air line of notebooks.

As Windows machines, there may have been an expectation that they’d cost less than similarly-outfitted MacBook Air models. Intel’s initial press release even stated, “This family of products will enable thin, light and beautiful designs that are less than 20mm (0.8 inch) thick, and mainstream price points under US$1,000.”

(MORE: Next in Notebooks: Super Thin ‘Ultrabooks’ to Cost Under $1,000)

However DigiTimes is now reporting that the scarcity of necessary components and screens for these ultrabooks “render the hope practically infeasible” when it comes to hitting price points below $1,000.

Asus and HP are expected to have the first ultrabooks out of the gate, with the 11.6-inch Asus UX21 mentioned by name in Intel’s original press release.

DigiTimes notes that the UX21 and its 13.3-inch cousin, the UX31 are expected to launch “in late September or early October,” and will be priced between $1,000 and $1,600, adding, “This is mainly because yield rates for panels and key components are still lower than originally expected and therefore production costs are relatively high.”

(MORE: MacBook Air Review: Thin, Light, and Utterly Mainstream)

Apple’s most recent crop of MacBook Air models start at $999 for the 11.6-inch version and $1,299 for the 13.3-inch version. The most expensive off-the-shelf 13.3-inch version tops out at $1,599 so if what DigiTimes is reporting pans out, we may be looking at the initial round of ultrabooks carrying price tags identical to those of the current MacBook Air models.

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