John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Ultrabooks Still Racking Up Infra Sales

Intel

Ultrabooks have been on the market now for nearly a year, but they haven’t made much headway toward mass-market acceptance.

According to new research from Barclays, Ultrabooks accounted for only about 5 percent of all laptops sold in the second quarter. That’s not even half of what the PC manufacturers who make them had been expecting. Clearly, Intel’s Ultrabook concept — which was supposed to prop up the PC market and win over consumers to whom Apple’s MacBook Air and iPad appeal — isn’t gaining quite the sort of traction the chip giant had hoped for.

And that traction isn’t likely to show up until PC manufacturers are able to lower their prices. According to Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh, 75 percent of the Ultrabooks currently available at Best Buy cost more than $950. Of those, several command prices of more than $1,300.

Those are heady prices, and they have been putting consumers off.

Said Rakesh, “We believe overall the high price points continue to be a challenge for the PC manufacturers and also consumers. This has held back [Ultrabook penetration], well below the expectations of the PC market.”

Of course, this could all change in the months ahead. Ultimately, component costs will drop and Ultrabooks will become more affordable. And with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system in the offing, consumers may have one more good reason to look to the Ultrabook as they consider their next PC purchase. Certainly, that’s the way Intel sees things playing out.

“When we first introduced the Ultrabook concept we were clear that the designs would be evolving,” Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy told AllthingsD. “As the category of Ultrabook devices evolves and new features are added over time, we expect the volume to go up and then volume economics will kick in and help drive system costs down.”


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