Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ultrabook sales off to a disappointing start, thanks to high prices

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Intel has invested a lot of money into launching the new Ultrabook laptop platform, hailing the ultra-thin form factor as the future of notebooks. While that still may be the case down the line, initial signs are that Ultrabooks aren’t setting the world on fire, sales-wise.

According to DigiTimes, two of the main Ultrabook vendors — Acer and Asus — are expected to ship fewer than half the target number of systems for the fourth quarter that they expected: around 100,000 instead of 200,000 or 300,000 units.

The site’s sources claim that the first Ultrabooks available are priced too high to excite consumer demand. While Acer’s Aspire S3 (pictured) costs $899, other Ultrabooks cost as much or more than the lowest-priced MacBook Air ($999), the obvious inspiration for the Ultrabook platform. Even priced at $899, these laptops may be too costly for consumers who will settle for a $500 notebook instead, especially as the economy continues to sputter.

As Intel rolls out Ivy Bridge and Microsoft rolls out Windows 8, Ultrabooks may become more attractive to buyers, DigiTimes points out, especially if vendors can continue to find ways to lower the price tag for the new laptops. Thus far, however, those buyers haven’t responded to the new platform in the way Intel may have hoped.

Have you purchased an Ultrabook yet? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section.

Sean Portnoy is a freelance technology journalist.

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