Ultrabook sales 'falling short of targets'
'Never buy version 1.0' rule in play
Those slim, svelte, sexy ultrabooks that Intel has been flogging may be having a hard time finding buyers due to their relatively high prices.
So say sources speaking with the Taiwanese market-watchers at DigiTimes, which reported on Monday that both Acer and Asustek, which had expected to sell between 200,000 and 300,000 of the li'l fellow this year, have revised their sales estimates to about 100,000 units each.
According to DigiTimes, the 11.6- and 13.6-in Asustek ultrabooks are available in Taiwan for around $1,200 and $1,675, and the $1,000 model that's available in the US is not available in Taiwan.
Those prices are a far cry from that of the ultrabook's predecessor and archetype, Apple's MacBook Air, which starts at $999 and $1,299 for models with the same size displays as Asustek's skinny notebooks.
The 13.3-inch Acer Aspire S3 beats the 13.3-inch MacBook Air in the US by a full four hundred bucks, but DigiTimes notes that in Taiwan it runs $1,101, shinking that margin shrinks to less than one hundred.
Actually, DigiTimes confuses the price of the 13.3-inch MacBook Air with that of its 11.6-inch sibling, but we'll note that and move on.
The ultrabook concept – Ultrabook™, actually, since Intel has trademarked the name – was first introduced this May by Intel CEO Paul Otellini at an investors' gathering. The light, slim notebooks were later described by Otellini as "a very holistic approach to moving the entire market to a different kind of form factor."
Intel has a lot invested in the ultrabook – in cash as well as hope. For example, the company has opend a $300m Intel Capital Ultrabook Fund to entice partners to join the ultrabook campaign.
Intel is not the only company who is hoping that ultrabooks will increase the sales of its products. Microsoft, buffeted by the tablet canibalization effect, has said that it hopes ultrabooks will boost Windows sales.
Intel has said that holiday shoppers will find ultrabooks on store shelves later this year, but as The Reg has pointed out, smart shoppers might do well to wait until the skinny fellows come equipped with Intel's 22nm "Ivy Bridge" processor next year.
Keep your eye on what sylphlike notebooks might appear at this January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – that's where, for example, Dell and HP may introduce their Ivy Bridge ultrabooks – although recent reports point to delays.
And if sales of current Acer and Asustek ultrabooks remain low, you might be able to snap up one of those first-generation models on the cheap at a post-holiday fire sale. ®
With all due respect the Smartbook market was killed in utero by MS and Intel who threatened any "partners" who had them on their roadmap with the usual things like "loss of marketing assistance" and "volume discounts" etc.
At the same time netbooks became expensive and bloated shadows of the original eee pc in order to accommodate the now mandatory bundled Windows while intel was also forcing artificial limitations on manufacturers (Max 2Gb RAM, 10" Screen) so that Netbook sales didn't cannibalise the laptop market where they could charge ordersof magnitudes more for CPU's that most people did not need but had to buy just to get something bigger than a 10" screen.
It was the arrogance of MS and intel who simply assumed that people who were dissatisfied with the netbooks on offer would be forced to purchase more expensive laptops.
This failed spectacularly because apple launched the ipad and suddenly people had a non wintel option which they have flocked to in droves.
Fail icon for Wintel
The companies are reaping what they sow.
Apple puts out a product that does well, and then others bring out similar products. But those products are of debatably inferior quality AND more expensive. And then said companies are shocked... SHOCKED that they arn't selling any. It happened with the tablets, and now it's happening with the ultrabooks.
PC companies have spent so much time and effort drilling into people people that Apple is the 'overly expensive luxury brand'. The HP touchpad proved very nicely that people have taken this to heart. They are simply not going to buy a Motorola/Samsung/Acer/Intel/whatever product if it costs more than Apple's equivalent 'luxury' product. In fact, people won't buy them unless they are either substantially better than the Apple equivalent, or significantly cheaper.
It's laughable that these companies don't even realize that they've painted themselves into a corner.
You need to do homework before you jump to conclusions.
My laptop is 4 years old and I need a new one, and the ASUS UX31E is the one I wanted, not only because I like it, but because it's the only Ultrabook that's purportedly shipping.
I live in the Silicon Valley and I can't buy one to save my soul. Fry's - nada. Best Buy - nice try. Central Computers - non-gotz! The sense I get is that none of them except for one BB store have ever received any. This is why ASUS will never be Apple. Ever! And it's why Intel needs to start firing these idiots.
So the idea that these laptops are not selling - well duh! But it's probably not from lack of demand. Please do your homework before posting nonsense.
ULTRA BOOKS MY AR*E....
My wife wanted a laptop to send emails,check on the children's school dinner menu, write the odd article etc. Ultra books my arse, I bought her an Asus eeeeeeeeeee for £165, does all these things and more.
Another overpriced gadget looking for a mug to take to the cleaners.
Gee... this is just a _little bit_ early to judge isn't it?
Pro tip: Sales will always be poor if the product is not available for sale.
I've been looking around for the Zenbook, and havn't seen it (or the Acer one) for sale anywhere yet. The only one i've seen locally is the Samsung Series 9...
Seeing as they're barely available, and the holiday shopping season hasn't started yet, it's a bit premature to be judging sales.
Not to mention the fact that traditional desktop and notebook availability will be taking a hit during the shopping season, due to the HDD shortages, likely shrinking the price gap between those and the flash-based ultrabooks.