How low can ultrabooks go? How about $699.
Let there be no doubt that Toshiba is setting the pace for ultrabook pricing so far. After debuting $699 at Best Buy.last month, the Portege Z835 is now down to
"They have a $200 instant rebate this week that brings it down to $699. I think it's surprising. It could be to spur sales. It could be to get people's attention. But it's a smart move and by far the most affordable ultrabook option right now," said Deron Kershaw, an analyst at Gap Intelligence. (Note that the $799 price only lasted for about a week when Toshiba introduced the Z835 in November. For the most part, it's been priced at $899--thus the $200 discount.)
The only major rivals even close right now are Acer's Aspire S3, which is priced just under $900 at Best Buy, and Hewlett-Packard's Folio 13, priced at $899.99.
Ultrabooks, for the uninitiated, are ultralight Windows laptops that compete with the increasingly popular, and more expensive, MacBook Air.
Specifications for the Toshiba ultrabook include a 2nd Generation Intel Core i3-2367M processor, 4GB DDR3 memory, 13.3" LED-backlit display (1366x768), 128GB solid state drive, three USB ports including one USB 3.0, and backlit keyboard. The Z835 weighs 2.5 pounds, measures just 0.6 inches thick, and has magnesium alloy casework.
And Intel is doing its part to drive ultrabook sales, according to Kershaw. Promotional displays--referred to as "end caps"--have popped at Office Depot this week (see photo).
"It's different from the other displays that we've seen. It's pretty unique because it says 'Intel Inside' in huge letters at the bottom. So, my thinking is that it makes it easy to funnel in a few different products from different manufacturers and put them on the display," he said.