Intel's Consumer Ultra Low-Voltage (CULV) initiative will be led by two of the largest PC makers, sources have said. Industry contacts have told DigiTimes that both Dell and HP will have very small notebooks with screens between 11 and 13 inches that should ship sometime during the summer. The launch is predicted to hurt Taiwanese companies like Acer and ASUS that have depended more heavily on ultraportable PCs until now.
CULV is increasingly considered important for Intel. The semiconductor company considers it a bridge between netbooks and regular notebooks that would provide reasonable performance in an ultraportable system while keeping the price between $699 and $899, or about half the $1,500 to $2,000 prices that often dictate ultraportable prices today. At least two sub-$300 processors, the 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo SU3500 and 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo SU9400, are believed to play a major role.
The lower-cost technology is in part a response to AMD's Athlon Neo processors that achieve a similar effect in systems like HP's dv2 (pictured).
Whether many other PC makers will use CULV chips isn't known, though their introduction may prove important to companies like Apple. The Mac producer has downplayed talk of any Atom-based system due to sluggish netbook performance and has also said it doesn't believe a quality system can be made for $500 or less; the new chips would be much more capable of driving CPU-intensive apps such as the iLife suite as well as more future-proof for eventual Mac OS X updates beyond Snow Leopard.