Intel has not managed to create the hype around ultrabooks it was hoping for, which has resulted in disappointing sales according to analysts at IHS. Intel once again claims it will be better next year, same thing they told everyone last year…

Analyst firm IHS Isuppli has released a not so positive report on Intel’s initiative “ultrabook” that would boost sales of notebooks. The global sales of ultrabooks in 2012 reached only 10.3 million units, but what is positive about this is that half of these shipped in the last quarter. This has forced IHS to lower its prognosis for next year, from 61 million to 44 million.

“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,” sa Craig Stice, chefsanalytiker för datorplattformar på IHS. “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.”

The hype the industry was hoping for around ultrabooks just isn’t there, not surprising since tablets and smartphones have stolen the limelight. The prices are still high and Craig Stice continue with that due to the bad economy people rather buy cheap consumer electronics, like a new smartphone or tablet, before a new notebooks in the premium segment. Also Intel hopes that ultrabooks will reach down into the mainstream to appeal more to the common man.

The solution is the fourth generation  Core i processor Haswell, says  Intel

Intel is positive about the future though, and says the ultrabooken will get its big break next year, which is what we were told last year. The new processor Haswell will offer better performance, longer battery times and new energy saving functions that will compete with handhelds in terms of uptime when idle. Together with touch screens and integrated sensors Intel hopes its ultrabook will be able to offer the best of both worlds.

IHS says the price is the biggest problem, most ultrabooks cost around 1,000 dollar. To make an ultrabook appealing it needs to come down to 600 to 700 dollar, and offer attractive functions like touch screen and Windows 8. Just the touch screen will add 100 to 200 dollar to the price, but IHS thinks it will not be impossible for notebooks like this to appear next year already.

The big probolem is of course manufacturing costs, no manufacturer wants to sell at a loss. Most components for ultrathin notebooks; cases, panels and nisch solutions are starting to come down in price, thanks to the higher volumes, but Intel’s platform is still very expensive.

NordicHardware: Intel in the driver seat

The most common processor for ultrabooks; Core i5-3317U, still costs 225 dollar in quantities of 1,000. We have heard that some manufacturers have a discount of 20 percent, but that means the price is still 180 dollar. And that does not include the chipset at 40 – 45 dollar. Just to use Intel’s platform costs 200 dollar, add to that SSD or at least SSD cache and we have a high cost just to start. Is it realistic to ask that ultrabooks should cost between 600 and 700 dollar, when nearly half of that is the cost of the processor platform? Add the rest of the components, manufacturing, development and marketing anyone can undertand this is anything but realistic.

If Intel is serious about this it needs to lower prices, which partners have already been nagging them about since the word ultrabook first came about. Lower prices would mean lower profits per sold unit, but the volume would go up instead to compensate – and volume is something ultrabooks doesn’t have today. We like the concept, but the price barrier is becoming a bigger problem than first anticipated. Intel is in the driver seat, dare they put the pedal to the metal?


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