But IHS said the slow start by Ultrabooks can be overcome. The firm projects shipments to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, exceeding 95 million units by 2016. This will drive long-term growth for devices used in ultrabooks, including motion sensors, IHS said.
IHS said more Ultrabooks need to get below the $600 price range in order to hit the volume level needed to enter the mainstream. If Ultrabooks using the new Windows 8 operating system come close to the $600 to $700 range next year, while adding in an attractive new consumer feature such as touchscreen, chances for strong sales in 2013 are good. But if Ultrabooks stay at the $1,000 level, their sales will continue to struggle in 2013 amid competition from lower-priced options, such as tablets and smartphones, IHS said.
"With the economy languishing, Ultrabook sellers may have trouble finding buyers at the current pricing, especially with fierce competition from new mobile computing gadgets such as the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and forthcoming Microsoft Surface," Stice said.
Click on image to enlarge.
Another factor cited by IHS for its Ultrabook forecast cut is the re-categorizing of many notebooks amid Intel's increasingly stringent set of definitions for Ultrabooks. Many notebooks once called ultrabooks now are being now classified as "ultrathins," the firm said.
Intel isn't giving up on Ultrabooks in 2012. But IHS noted that the chip giant is turning its attention to next year, saying at the recent Intel Developer Forum (IDF) that it believes everything will come together with the mid-2013 introduction of the company's new microprocessor, dubbed Haswell. Intel described 2013 as a once-in-a-decade opportunity for companies to reinvent the PC, with its new Haswell microprocessor catalyzing the ultrabook revolution.
Haswell, Intel's fourth-generation core microprocessor family, is expected to offer better performance with lower power consumption. Haswell will serve as the main core microprocessor for ultrabooks, IHS said. The microprocessor will provide Intel Identity Protection Technology to improve security and will also support multiple displays and high-definition 4K monitors with DisplayPort 1.2.
Beyond the ultrathin and ultralight form factor, Intel at IDF focused on new consumer-friendly features to enhance the attraction of ultrabooks, IHS said. The focus at several IDF briefings centered on touchscreen technology in Ultrabooks, in conjunction with the Windows 8 launch in October, IHS said. Intel claims 40 Ultrabook designs with touchscreens are in progress, the firm said.
Other prominent new features being incorporated into the next-generation ultrabooks are voice recognition; security features; multiple sensors including GPS, accelerometers and gyroscopes; and hand-gesture recognition, an attractive option for the gaming market, according to IHS.
Instead of an Ultrabook I use an iPad along with the Logitech Ultrathin keyboard. I get light weight, portability, detachable tablet, 10 hours on a single battery charge, lots of apps. What I miss are separate user accounts and a mouse.
The article has it right -- high price, lousy, opportunistic marketing, and lack of touch screens are big holes in the plan. Yes, SSD prices which are now from $400 to $500 for a needed 512 Gb device are a big culprit, but pretty soon the gazillion HDD parts vs. the handfull in the SDD's are going to show up in cratering prices.
The MacBook Air cleverly set the bar that thinner was going to cost you more and if you think that just because there is less stuff to buy, build and ship in an Ultrabook marketing types are going to forgo extra profit just for volume, you're pretending they have a soul. Pretty soon somebody is going to do a Prius to the market and price as if they were going to sell a gazillion and leave the rest of the folks looking like Chevy Volts at twice the price, half the performance and sales in the dozens.
I've got a 2.4 pound Toshiba that cost $699 -- OK performance, OK screen, but amazing to take anywhere. Now if it just had touchscreen, I'd crank in Windows 8 tomorrow.
I am not surprised.
If WinTel want to beat Apple by making a Macbook Air Clone, the first thing they should consider doing is to substantially reduce the price compared to Air. I would buy an ultrabook with similar specs that of an Air at 60% of air's price.
I believe it was Santayana who said "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it."
Some here may recall the UMPC, which was a joint venture between Intel and Microsoft, based around Microsoft's Origami effort.
Both had problems - how to maintain growth and market share. The answer they came up with was a whole new platform that would use Intel chips and run Windows. It was noteworthy that the UMPC was produced by vendors like Samsung and VIA Technologies, who weren't known for complete systems, and was *not* made by laptop manufacturers like Dell and Fujitsu. The specs also seemed crafted to keep them from *competing* with laptops.
What neither Intel nor MS provided was a compelling use case for why people might get a UMPC in *addition* to what they already had, and mostly, people didn't.
The tablet essentially does what the UMPC was suggested for, but at a much better price point and with better ease of use.
The Ultrabook looks like it's intended to compete against devices in the netbook category, spawned by the ASUS eee, aimed at the higher end.
Again, where's the compelling use case? What makes one of the Ultrabooks worth $1,000 to a buyer?
Whether the Ultrabook sales are all that bad depends upon what sort of numbers Intel expected. I don't think they thought it would be an out-of-the-park home run.