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$800 ThinkPad Ultrabook to reportedly take on MacBook

Lenovo offers one of the first hints of Ultrabook laptop pricing in 2012. A future ThinkPad Ultrabook will fall further into mainstream laptop pricing territory, according to a report.

Lenovo X1.  A less expensive follow-on coming next year, says report.
Lenovo X1. A less expensive follow-on coming next year, says report.

Next year is shaping up to be the year that the Ultrabook takes on the MacBook Air in earnest, with a new report hinting at an $800 ThinkPad from Lenovo and even talk of a fall release of Windows 8.

Intel has been espousing Ultrabooks as the next wave in Windows-based laptop computing. An important part of the argument is price: Ultrabooks have to be considerably cheaper than the popular MacBook Air in order to get consumers interested. (Note to picky Ultrabook reviewers: PC makers are going have to cut some corners to get the price down.)

Well, Lenovo appears to be doing its part to make this happen. The world's No. 2 PC maker is working on a "mainstream" model that may approach $800 by June of 2012, according to a report in The Verge.

That would make it not only cheaper than existing Ultrabooks like the $899 Toshiba Z835, but the ThinkPad would include nextgen goodies like Intel's upcoming 3D transistor-based Ivy Bridge technology, which packs better graphics silicon and extras like USB 3.0.

And the report also says Lenovo expects Windows 8 in the fall of 2012. That's the other shoe that needs to drop for Ultrabooks to take off because it enables hybrid designs. This news follows a report earlier in the week that Samsung plans to sell a Windows 8 tablet with a wireless keyboard in the second half of 2012.