Microsoft Windows 8 has long been touted as the savior of the laptop and notebook market – which faces a very real threat from Apple’s iPad and various Android tablets.
However, DigiTimes reports PC vendors are facing “great pressure” as Windows 8’s touchscreen design may increase the cost of devices, shifting prices out of the mainstream and significantly reducing consumer demand until at least 2013.
Indeed, notebooks with touch screens require slide or rotatable displays, meaning, vendors will have to adopt new panel designs for their Windows 8 systems.
Meanwhile, Intel-back Ultrabook prices have yet to drop to a “desirable level” and Santa Clara (perhaps quite understandably) is apparently “unwilling to sacrifice its profits” to reduce CPU prices, even for Windows 8.
As Tamlin Magee of ChannelBiz UK notes, first-gen Ultrabooks – even with subsidized Intel grants for vendors – have thus far been unobtainable for the vast majority who would be most likely to show interest.
“The emergence of an exciting, new form factor is bound to cause headaches among many manufacturers and, in turn, produce a domino effect on the channel when the warehouses fill up,” he explained.
“Despite the fears, it is still expected that Ultrabooks should shake consumers out of their collective apathy. Parts of 2012 could be a rocky road for the supply chain, but conditions are expected to pick up by 2013.”
J.P. Morgan analyst Mike Moskowitz expressed similar sentiments back in February, opining that Windows-based Ultrabooks wouldn’t become “meaningful enough” to drive significant growth in the notebook PC market until at least 2013.
“We believe Intel is trying to breathe new life into the PC industry by adopting a page from Apple’s playbook: push a feature-rich, easy-to-use mobile product family that competes on more than just price. ”
“[Yet], we do not believe Ultrabooks can jumpstart the growth trajectory of the notebook PC market in 2012. [Yes], the MacBook Air form factor has been a success for Apple, but [we remain] skeptical similar success can be replicated by Windows-based Ultrabooks in the first generation,” he added.