Intel Corp. (INTC), the world’s largest chipmaker, said it will invest as much as $300 million to back the development of technology to speed up the introduction of notebook computers it’s calling “ultrabooks.”
Intel will put the money in companies building hardware and software to create thinner, lighter laptops that can go all day without a battery charge, the Santa Clara, California-based company said in a statement. The investments will take place over the next three to four years.
Intel, whose processors run more than 80 percent of the world’s computers, is trying to fire up demand by adding some of the features that have made Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad tablet and its competitors a threat to personal-computer sales. In May Intel said the new computers will be less than an inch thick, have days of battery life on standby, start up in seconds and sell for less than $1,000. Intel is aiming to convert 40 percent of consumer laptops to the new category by the end of 2012.
“The Intel Capital Ultrabook fund will focus on investing in companies building technologies that will help revolutionize the computing experience and morph today’s mobile computers into the next ‘must have’ device,” said Executive Vice President Arvind Sodhani, who runs Intel Capital Corp., the chipmaker’s investment arm.
The first ultrabooks will appear by the end-of-year holiday shopping season, an effort that will require collaboration among the whole PC industry, Intel said. The company is working on cutting the amount of power its processors use to enable the machines to draw less battery power, it said.
While Intel also is developing new chips for tablet computers, the company so far has struggled to translate its PC dominance into success in that market. Apple’s iPad runs on mobile-phone chips, rather than Intel processors. Tablets from Samsung Electronics Co., Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) also rely on non-Intel chips.
Intel rose 30 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $20.23 at 9:33 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock had lost 5.2 percent this year before today.
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