Yearender: Ultrabooks fail to attract PC buyers

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[/caption] Intel conceived the ultrabook model as a slim yet powerful high-end mobile computer that features low-power Intel Core processors, solid-state drives, and unibody chassis. But, the disappointing sales of the sleek Macbook Air clones have contributed to Intel?s woes instead, leading the company to report dismal third quarter results. The Santa Clara, California-based tech giant is also reeling from its failure to ride on the tech industry?s massive shift to mobile. The blunder has cast a shadow on Intel’s strategy so much so that long-time CEO Paul Otellini has decided to leave his post to allow the company to pick someone who can lead the semicon giant into the wireless age. Representatives of the PC vendors who are selling ultrabook models in the local market said in a CyberPress forum in late October that the high price and the lack of marketing push are the main reasons why consumers have shunned it. Alvin Go, product manager of Dell Philippines, said the high sales targets set by Intel could also be partly to blame for the low adoption rate. The initial hype may have also pushed tech observers to set an unrealistic goals for ultrabooks, said Go. He said this was different from the case of netbooks, which soared in popularity even if it had low sales expectations. For South Korean tech giant Samsung, the ultrabook branding has been ?less than successful? primarily due to its expensive price tag and the failure of its backers to properly communicate its benefits. Erik Sulit, IT director of Samsung Philippines, said that ultrabooks could yet pick momentum as prices go down and Windows 8 arrive in stores this fourth quarter. Lenovo, which is on track to become the world?s biggest PC maker this year, said through its top local executive that there?s still a possibility that the buying public is just waiting for the right time to refresh their computers. ?Price indeed a big factor, but let?s give it a chance,? said Vicky Agorrilla, country general manager of Lenovo Philippines. Taiwanese PC makers Acer and Asus are also not counting out the ultrabooks yet, saying the local market is still evolving and that users have a need for powerful but premium-priced laptops. Earlier, IT analyst firm IHS iSuppli said in a report that global ultrabook shipments are falling short of expectations in 2012, prompting the company to cut its near-term forecast for the next-generation notebooks. An estimated 10.3 million ultrabooks will ship worldwide in 2012, down from the previous forecast issued earlier this year of 22 million units. In the newly adjusted forecast for 2012, more than half of the shipments for the year are expected to come in the fourth quarter. Along with the revised figures for 2012, shipments have also been modified for the next year, projected to rise to 44 million in 2013, down from the older outlook of 61 million. The analyst firm, however, said the challenges stemming from the nebulous marketing and unappealing price surrounding the ultrabook can still be overcomed, paving the way for shipments to rise by more than 300 percent in 2013. ?Growth is also expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with shipments expanding to 95 million units by 2016. This will drive long-term growth for devices used in ultrabooks, including motion sensors,? it said. ]]>

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