SAN FRANCISCO—The projected growth of ultrabooks—a low power type of notebook being pushed by Intel Corp.—will shake up several semiconductor markets, boosting the prospects of sensors and power and analog chips but decreasing the market opportunity for upgrade memory modules, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
IHS (El Segundo, Calif.) predicts that shipments of ultrabooks will rise to 136.5 million in 2015 from less than 1 million in 2011. By 2015, ultrabooks will account for 42 percent of notebook shipments, according to IHS.
The ultrabook's thin and light form factor requires changes in design and component selection compared to conventional mobile PCs, according to IHS. Though ultrabooks on the whole represent a huge new growth opportunity for chip suppliers, their rapid growth will cause major realignments among semiconductor frims serving the notebook markets, IHS predicted.
"In terms of usage of sensors, ultrabooks much more closely resemble media tablets than conventional notebooks," said Jérémie Bouchaud, principal analyst for MEMS and sensors at IHS.
While media tablets make extensive use of sensors, including MEMS devices like accelerometers and non-MEMS devices like compasses, conventional notebook PCs use very few sensors, Bouchaud said.
"With ultrabook shipments expected to rise to account for 42 percent of the notebook market by 2015, this represents a major growth opportunity for MEMS."
Another beneficiary of the ultrabooks’ increasing share of notebook shipments will be analog semiconductors, particularly power-management devices, according to IHS. The tiny size of ultrabooks will require more highly integrated power and analog components compared to conventional notebooks, the firm said.
"This will increase the value of power management electronics in each unit sold, boosting the opportunity for analog suppliers," said Marijana Vukicevic, senior principal analyst for power management at IHS.
The thin, media-tablet style of ultrabooks will be a detriment to the DRAM module market, particularly those used for memory upgrades, IHS said.
According to Clifford Leimbach, memory demand forecasting analyst at IHS, most ultrabooks now shipping have DRAM chips soldered directly onto the motherboard. This streamlines the design, but also eliminates the need for a traditional small outline dual in-line memory module DRAM module, Leimbach said.
Notebooks represent a key market for DRAM modules, both those built into the PCs and those purchased to upgrade memory capacity, IHS said. As ultrabooks account for a greater percentage of notebooks shipped, the upgrade DRAM module market will be negatively impacted, IHS said. While the reduction initially will be limited, the ultrabook in 2015 will reduce the number of upgrade notebook PC modules shipped by 13.5 percent, amounting to some 10.8 million units, according to IHS.
Ultrabooks are light, thin (less on 0.8 inches in thickness) notebooks with a full PC operating system like Microsoft Windows as well as features now commonly found in media tablets, such as instant-on activation, always-connected wireless links, solid state drives and battery lives longer than eight hours on a single charge. The machines are targeted to cost less than $1,000, but early models from Asus, Acer and others are more expensive, according to IHS.
If you had a full laptop for the weight and size of a tablet, why have a tablet? Esp if you had a hybrid design that was BOTH a clamshell and a tablet. Look more closely at what's coming, not what's past
By Intel's definition a Mac Air IS AN ULTRABOOK (meets thickness, weight requirements, uses Intel Core i3/5/7 processor, exceeds minimum battery life specs etc) - it's just the first one and Apple declines to pariticipate in Intel's marketing of UB
@agk: I am not sure so sure if this move by Intel is really growing its marketshare. There is a majoor %% of tablet market that has cannibalized the ultra lite laptops & netbooks (which were a bad idea in my opinion to begin with!). Intel being late as is to the tablet market may only see limited success.
When portable computing appliances evolve to a state where they don't need much of the traditional peripherals (like keyboards, mice, etc), one has to take a radically different approach to exploit that market. Intel has been late for that party and may never catchup ARM/TI.
It'll be interesting to see how tablets will compete with ultrabooks, as tablet user that travel purchase a keyboard immediately, where the combined package is larger in volume than ultrabook, and unplug time is about the same.
Ultrabooks sounds like a renaming of netbooks - and I'm not hearing much buzz about either of them. Today iPads seem to be taking over. In 4 years I'd guess they will have gained further functionality and be even stronger competitors. I wouldn't be betting on femto- giga- mega- ultra- net-books (whatever they are called then).
Why has the cost of the ultrabook so much as compare to the PC or notebook. If the price remains in the range of $1000 then how will they compete with the notebook which are in the price range $600 or so?
Join our online Radio Show on Friday 11th July starting at 2:00pm Eastern, when EETimes editor of all things fun and interesting, Max Maxfield, and embedded systems expert, Jack Ganssle, will debate as to just what is, and is not, and embedded system.