INTEL yesterday invented a category of ultra-thin, affordable notebooks. They will be powered by its second generation Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, as the firm looks to take on Apple chipmaker ARM in the portable computing stakes.

Intel plans to price the devices – which it is calling the Ultrabook – at under $1,000 (£600). The first units will be hitting the shelves in time for Christmas. Intel’s new president of China, Sean Moloney, unveiled the new gadget which looks similar to the Macbook Air and is only 0.8 inches thick. Intel is also promising a longer battery life than some rivals. The company predicts that 40 per cent of consumer laptops sold worldwide by the end of 2012 will be Ultrabooks.