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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Intel plans to make its biggest marketing push since 2003 for a new, super-thin category of laptops it has dubbed "ultrabooks," hoping to fend off major strides made by Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and its MacBook Air into the high-end personal computing market.
The global campaign kicks off in April and is expected to surpass Intel 2003 efforts to promote its Centrino technology for wireless connectivity in laptops. Intel spent about $300 million on that campaign.
"Our focus for 2012 is to drive awareness and demand for ultrabooks," Kevin Sellers, Intel's vice president of sales and marketing, told Reuters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The chip maker's "A New Era in Computing" campaign will span TV and print advertisements along with a push through social media.
Intel is doubling down on an ultra-thin category of laptops powered by its microprocessor technology that it is helping create. The marketing effort would come on top of the $300 million its venture capital arm, Intel Capital, has committed to invest in companies working on products and services that will help expand the ultrabook market.
Intel, which on Monday announced a partnership with voice-technology firm Nuance (NUAN.O), also said it expects ultrabooks that respond to voice commands to be launched later this year, and laptops that respond to hand gestures soon.
Santa Clara, California-based Intel is eager to make laptops more attractive to consumers increasingly captivated by Apple's iPad, MacBook Air and other mobile gadgets.
Its processors power 80 percent of the world's PCs but Intel has failed so far to adapt them for power-hungry smartphones and tablets. Manufacturers like Motorola (MMI.N) and Apple favor processors made using energy-efficient technology licensed by Britain's ARM Holdings ARM.L.
More than 75 ultrabooks are due to be launched this year from various manufacturers, Mooly Eden, vice president of Intel's PC group, said at CES.
Reporting By Poornima Gupta; Editing by Richard Chang