Lenovo has confirmed plans to launch thin and light laptops which fill Intel’s definition of ultrabooks. During a call to discuss the company’s financial results yesterday, Lenovo CEO Rory Read said the company plans to be a leader in the ultrabook space and that he expects the computers to hit mainstream prices in 2012.

Intel’s vision for ultrabooks is to develop a platform for computer makers to offer reasonably priced, high performance laptops that measure less than 0.8 inches thick and weigh around 3 pounds or less. They’ll use the latest Intel processors and solid state disks to keep size, weight, and heat generation low while offering acceptable performance.

So far Asus is the only company that has officially unveiled an ultrabook, but the company’s UX21 laptop has yet to start shipping. There have also been rumors that PC makers are trying to get Intel to lower the prices of its processors in order to help them meet the $1000 target price.

Lenovo hasn’t provided any details about its upcoming ultrabooks, but it sounds like if it’s released this year it could sell for more than $1000 and the price could fall next year — or we may just be looking at a 2012 launch for Lenovo’s first ultrabook.

One of the things that netbooks have done to the computer space over the past few years is change the way people think about the value of ultraportable computers. Before 2007 if you wanted to buy a 3 pound laptop with an 11.6 inch or smaller display you probably had to spend $1500 or more to get a state-of-the-art system. Netbooks turned that value proposition on its head by using inexpensive components to offer tiny portable laptops which were good enough for many (but not all) computing tasks priced at under $400. Today you can regularly find used or refurbished models for as little as $200 or less.

This means two things: First it’s high time computer makers brought down the cost of high-end ultraportable laptops. And second, if they don’t, there’s a good chance they’re simply not going to sell, since consumers have gotten used to looking at tiny laptops and thinking they should be cheaper, not more expensive than their 14 to 17 inch counterparts.

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