Intel Ultrabooks wither under tablet glow



Posted by Trent Nouveau

Ultrabook sales are withering due to high prices and the allure of competing devices such as tablets and smartphones with more affordable price points.



Indeed, IHS iSuppli has slashed its 2012 forecast for global ultrabook shipments by more than half, while also cutting expectations for 2013. 



Analysts now estimate that ultrabook shipments will reach 10.3 million in 2012, down significantly from the nearly 22 million units it had predicted in earlier forecasts.



"So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream," iHS iSuppli analyst Craig Stice told Nasdaq.com

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"This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones. When combined with other factors, including prohibitively high pricing, this means that ultrabook sales will not meet expectations in 2012."



Stice also cited Intel's insistence of maintaining an "increasingly stringent" definition of the thin, lightweight laptop computers, which has resulted in some of them being categorized as ultrathins.



Nevertheless, says Stice, longer-term growth for the form factor is anticipated, with shipments expected to reach approximately 44 million in 2013 (down from earlier forecasts of 61 million) and 95 million in 2016.



To be sure, sales are expected to significantly accelerate once Intel manages to lower pricing to a sweet $600 price range - down from the current $1,000.