Chip giant Intel has launched thin and light mobile computers, called Ultrabook, which seems to be an inspiration from Apple's MacBook Air.

Intel, which aims to shift 40 percent of consumer laptops to the Ultrabook by end of 2012, announced the new laptop designs at Computex, one of the world's largest technology trade shows held at Taipei, Taiwan.

Ultrabooks will combine the performance and capabilities of today's laptops with tablet-like features and deliver a highly responsive and secure experience, in a thin, light and elegant design, Intel's Executive Vice President Sean Maloney said in a statement.

Ultrabooks will be less than 20mm (0.8 inch) thick, and costs less than $1,000. Meanwhile, the initial version of Ultrabooks will hit the market for the 2011 winter holiday shopping season and Asus will be one of the launch partners with its UX21 model.

The first set of this new class of PCs will run on Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture, but, from the first half of 2012, the devices are expected to be powered by next-generation Ivy Bridge processors.

Ivy Bridge is the first high-volume chip based on Intel's 22 nanometer (nm) manufacturing technology that uses a revolutionary 3-D transistor design called Tri-Gate announced in May.

Intel claims that laptops based on Ivy Bridge will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security.

Following Ivy Bridge, planned 2013 products codenamed Haswell are the third step toward achieving the Ultrabook and reinventing the capabilities of the laptop in ultra thin and light, responsive and more secure designs. With Haswell, Intel is expected to change the mainstream laptop thermal design point by reducing the microprocessor power to half of today's design point.

In addition, Intel is preparing its next-generation netbook platform, codenamed Cedar Trail. Cedar Trail is the first netbook platform based on Intel's 32nm technology, and will enable ultra-thin, fanless designs with new capabilities such as Intel Rapid Start technology which provides fast resume and PC Synch, which let users wirelessly update and synchronize documents, content and media across multiple devices.

In addition, the new platform is expected to enable more than 10 hours of battery life and weeks of standby. Cedar Trail will support leading operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, Google Chrome and MeeGo.

In addition, Maloney showcased more than 10 tablets, running on three different operating systems, that are available today based on the Intel Atom processor Z670. The platform already has more than 35 design wins since its launch in April, with several convertibles, sliders and other innovative designs on shelves now and more coming through the rest of the year. 

Maloney also discussed Medfield, Intel's first purpose-built 32nm platform for smartphones and tablets.  Medfield has been optimized for both low power and high performance and will deliver long use-time, rich media and gaming, and advanced imaging capabilities.

Intel also showcased a Medfield design running Google Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). In production later this year, the platform will enable sub-9mm designs that weigh less than 1.5 pounds for tablet designs in market the first half of 2012. It will support a range of operating systems including Android and MeeGo.