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Punters to pick up cheap laptops not Ultrabooks

Consumers too price-wary for skinny tech, says analyst

LG Xnote Z330 Ultrabook

Ultrabooks are still too darn pricey for punters, with the new skinny laptops' average selling price during Q4 2011 63 per cent higher than that of regular notebooks.

Worse, said UK-based market watcher Context, which released the figures today, Ultrabooks are, on average, more than three times the price of a netbook.

Context, which tracks European technology sales channels through to the point before kit enters consumers' hands, said Ultrabooks costs, on average €670 (£557) in Q4 2011. That's before sales tax.

That compares to €410 (£341) for traditional consumer notebooks and €197 (£164) for netbooks.

“Ultrabooks were launched in a market characterised by strong economic constraints and very tight consumer wallets," said Marie-Christine Pygott, a Context senior analyst.

“With traditional notebook pricing decreasing even further year on year, those consumers who are buying notebooks over tablets, are still doing so with price points in mind, rather than a focus on weight and battery life.”

Weight, battery life and overall portability are the key characteristics Intel has highlighted to promote Ultrabooks. The chip giant reckons 40 per cent of consumer notebook sales in 2012 will be Ultrabooks.

Acer accounted for 62 per cent of Ultrabook shipments in Western Europe through distribution during Q4 2011, followed by Toshiba, Asus and Lenovo.

"Consumers are more likely to choose a tablet PC or cheap, traditional notebook, particularly if the current economic pressures persist,” said Pygott.

AMD's skinnybook platform, Ultrathin, may help push down prices later in the year, as will the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge platform. ®

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