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Poor Ultrabook Sales See Manufacturers Opting for Low Cost Machines

Written By Shelly Alicia on Thursday, March 8, 2012 | 1:39 AM

UltrabookAccording to multiple reports and sources, suppliers of ultrabooks are facing a lot of issues with profitability and market. As a result, many manufacturers are expected to turn to low-cost designs to make up for it. According to an anonymous CNET source that speaks directly to ultrabook suppliers, "The ultrabook adoption during the holiday season was ugly." Before you go jumping to conclusions, this source was only talking about one ultrabook manufacturer specifically.

That being said, the ultrabook market for all suppliers is still facing challenges. According to the same source, "You've got a down market on the eve of a new operating system (Windows 8, obviously) at a price point that's fairly robust (meaning high)." On top of that, Acer, one of the high-profile ultrabook vendors, stated that it is currently not making a profit on lower-end models according to a recent report in The Verge.

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The company's Aspire S3 ultrabook has been generally priced at $899 but could drop as low as $799. Acer's Chairman also stated back in December that ultrabook sales should be somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 in Q4. Other top vendors, like HP and Dell, have just started selling ultrabooks, which makes their success or failure hazy.

However, a recent report from Asia has claimed that poor sales for vendors is forcing them to rethink ultrabooks altogether. According to a report in Digitimes citing industry sources, "Existing Sandy-bridge ultrabooks are too expensive." Many are speculating that, as a result, many ultrabook manufacturers will turn to thin laptops similar to ultrabooks that do not incur the high costs of current designs. Things like metal cases, expensive hinges and expensive solid state drives are what are keeping ultrabook prices high enough to dissuade potential buyers. PDA

These new thin laptops are predicted to have prices in the $600 range and launch in Q2 2012, although that strategy could also backfire. Low-cost laptops, like the netbook, have yet to be widely accepted due to the fact that they were built from cheap chassis materials, had low-end components and lacked the performance power of other laptops. What this could mean for the laptop industry as a whole is still up in the air.

Source: CNET - As ultrabook makers seek stronger sales, some opt for low cost

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