Ultrabooks are not coming to the rescue of the PC industry in this “post-PC” world, according to the latest forecasts from IHS iSuppli.

The research firm on Monday slashed its prediction for global shipments this year by more than half, from 22m to 10.3m. It estimated they would rise to 44m in 2013, but that is down from its earlier outlook of 61m. Read more

Intel is betting on cheaper Ultrabooks, new convertible laptop/tablets and powerful voice, gesture and facial recognition features to maintain its market share in mobile computing, where it has been losing out to rivals’ chips powering smartphones and tablets.

That was the main message from the annual Intel Developer Forum, which began in San Francisco on Tuesday. Intel executives hope convertibles can create a category for the next 10 years and say they will be boosted by an as-yet-unnamed chip next year that will draw only 10 watts of power and give true all-day battery life. Read more

Intel will give developers something to shout about, wave their hands in the air and roll their eyes at its annual conference for them next week. More mundanely, but just as important, it is expected to unveil details of its fourth-generation Core processors, including a new line of ultra-low voltage processors drawing just 10 watts of power.

A keynote speech by Dadi Perlmutter, Intel executive vice president, will suggest ways these new processors will be put to work with Ultrabooks, new tablet/laptop hybrids and with “perceptual computing” – Intel’s term for the use of voice commands, gestures and eye-tracking to control PCs – the next advances after the touch features being introduced with Windows 8 next month. Read more

Toshiba has come up with perhaps the most striking Ultrabook to date with the elongated Satellite U845W announced today – that W stands for very Wide, while its depth is unusually narrow.

The picture (left) doesn’t do justice to the laptop (nor does the name, U must stand for unsexy nomenclature). This is the first Ultrabook to feature a 21:9 cinematic aspect ratio, made possible by its 14.4in ultrawide-HD display. Read more

Sony’s Vaio PC brand is 15 years old and its new line announced today features an anniversary edition of its Z series premium laptop.

The company is unveiling an alphabet soup of new laptops in the E, T, S and Z series as well as L all-in-one PCs. Apart from the Z special, the most distinguishing features are its first US Ultrabook (pictured above) and a lineup that offers premium features across price ranges. Read more

Just in time for the big computer show of the year – Computex in Taiwan next week – Microsoft is announcing a new version of Windows 8 and its longtime partner Intel has launched new versions of its latest Ivy Bridge-codenamed Core processors.

Both seem certain to be featured in new Ultrabooks later this year, although models unveiled at Computex will still feature Windows 7 and be Windows 8-ready, judging by briefings by PC manufacturers ahead of the show. Read more

HP has announced a new line of “Sleekbooks” - a variation on Intel’s Ultrabook category that adds processors from its rival AMD and achieves lower price points.

The leading PC maker also unveiled Ultrabooks under its Envy brand name including a new model of the Spectre, the premium ultrabook it introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Read more

Toshiba Portégé Z835 

Toshiba Portégé Z835

Competition in the Ultrabook category of laptops resembles a runway cat fight among skinny supermodels, as these thin and light devices battle it out over looks and vital statistics. The models from Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard, and a hybrid alternative from Asus, all excel but the right option will depend on your needs.

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Hewlett-Packard has made a weighty entry into the Ultrabook category with its Folio 13 laptop.

At 3.3lbs, it seems positively obese next to rival machines from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Toshiba, which like the 13.3in MacBook Air they try to emulate, all come in at under 3lbs. But there is a reason for its heavyweight proportions. Read more

The MacBook Air finally has some serious competition with the first of the new Ultrabook laptops being launched here at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin.

After Toshiba unveiled what it claimed was the world’s thinnest and lightest 13.3in laptop on Thursday – the Portege Z830 - Acer followed up on Friday with the Aspire S3, which boasts 1.5 seconds start-up time from a sleep state that can last 50 days on its long-life battery. Read more

Taiwan’s Asus has been a keen early supporter of Intel’s ‘Ultrabooks’, with chairman Jonney Shih appearing on stage with Sean Maloney, head of Intel China, to make the announcement and show off the first model in May.

The vision was for these thin, responsive notebooks to revolutionise the traditional PC industry, which has come under increasing challenge from smartphones and tablets. Intel’s ambition is for ultrabooks to make up 40 per cent of the consumer notebook PC market by the end of next year.

Yet the reality, Asus’ chief executive Jerry Shen said on Friday, is that a 40 per cent share is “a very aggressive target that would be difficult to meet before 2013”. Read more

Intel’s vision of a new category of ‘Ultrabooks’ that would revolutionise the consumer PC industry has won over at least one important convert.

Speaking at a separate press conference just minutes after Intel’s keynote speech, Ray Chen, president of Taiwan’s Compal, the world’s second-biggest contract PC maker, praised the idea of Ultrabooks and said it would “ignite the next wave of laptop replacements” next year when those new models come onto the market. Read more