Higher device prices, wait for Windows 8 and sluggish economy affect low ultrabook sales in H1 2012

Infotech Lead Asia: Higher device prices, wait for Windows 8, and a sluggish economy have affected sales of low ultrabook sales in the first half of 2012.

The low ultrabook market has undermined Intel’s bullish “40 percent of notebook” claims previously this year, said ABI Research in its recent research report.

After the launch of Windows 8 and the release of a host of new ultrabook models, according to ABI Research, shipments are expected to rise to 21 million by the end of 2012.

In fact, Indian notebook market experienced launches of several Ultrabooks.

Recently, Lenovo has launched the IdeaPad U310 and IdeaPad U410 ultrabooks in India. IdeaPad U310 and IdeaPad U410 ultrabooks are powered by Intel Core processors. Lenovo said these new products are available at a price starting under Rs 50,000.

Asus said Asus S Series of Ultrabooks are positioned for mainstream computing. Equipped with Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor and weighing 2.4 KGs, the S Series is a perfect fit for superior mobile computing & longer battery life. Asus is offering S56CA-XX030R at a price of Rs 46,999. Asus S56CA-XX056R is priced at Rs 52,999.

Meanwhile, IDC reports that Ultrabooks are being shunned by European consumers despite Intel’s marketing spending.

Intel has set aside $300 million to market Ultrabooks. However, IDC says that consumers are shunning Ultrabooks, favouring smartphones and tablets instead of buying Ultrabooks that look like four year old Apple Macbook Air laptops.

Apple’s MacBook Air came first in ABI Research’s latest ultrabook Competitive Assessment study.

ABI Research’s senior analyst Josh Flood said: “With the launch of Windows 8, we may see a double whammy effect. A number of consumers have held off from computer purchases so they could purchase an ultrabook with Windows 8 during the year. Furthermore, with the abundance of new ultrabook model releases, older systems’ prices will reduce and this will entice purchases from the low to mid-range price segment.”

North America is currently the largest market for ultrabooks with half the world’s shipments.

Western Europe and Asia-Pacific follow behind respectively.

Majority of ultrabook purchases are for personal use, unsurprisingly with the lion’s share of advertising and marketing by vendor OEMs focused on style and convenience.

Intel has claimed the ultrabooks are a much better value proposition for business use and ABI Research projects a more equal split between consumer and business purchases of 60 percent/40 percent by 2017.

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