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MacBook Air rivals keeping ultrabook shipments below 50,000?

updated 11:40 pm EDT, Mon September 5, 2011

Ultrabook shipments below 50K to test field

The first batch of ultrabooks attempting to take on the MacBook Air might be produced with intentionally low production numbers to test the market, notebook industry insiders purported late Monday. Systems like the Acer Aspire S3, Lenovo IdeaPad U300s, and Toshiba Portege Z830 may all ship in early production runs under 50,000. The move Digitimes understood would be for "testing the water" to see if a market exists for non-Mac versions of the ultraportables.

Many of the companies had been burned by their experiences with CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) notebooks last year and didn't want a repeat, the tipsters said. Acer with its TimelineX and others making CULV systems had tried to straddle the gap between netbooks and full-size notebooks last year, but the segment didn't get significant traction. In many cases, the systems weren't dramatically faster than netbooks because of their slow processors but still had significant premiums because of both the chips and the larger screen sizes.

Intel is believed to be holding another of its ultrabook-related meetings on September 14 to both help overcome the technical limits Windows PC builders were facing as well as to persuade more companies to get onboard. Previous tips had revealed that companies were complaining they couldn't use cheaper parts like they preferred and otherwise weren't as familiar as Apple with ultrabook design strategies, such as metal chassis designs, solid-state drives and advanced battery techniques.

Some in the industry supposedly feel that the ultrabook is the "last resort" to driving Windows notebook shipments, which have largely struggled. The weight of the current global economy might render difficult Intel's target for ultrabooks making up 40 percent of portables by the end of 2012. Analysts at IDC and even HP have also pointed to a broader tablet effect on notebooks as some customers get one of the more mobile devices, usually an iPad, instead of full-size notebooks that they didn't necessarily need.

by MacNN Staff



  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It would be amazing if Apple

    could somehow capture most the ultrabook market but I guess it's not possible because Apple likely won't be able to keep up with demand if this platform does become popular. Still, if it could grab a solid 30% of the market it would provide Apple with pretty decent revenue numbers. Man, those companies complaining that they couldn't use cheaper parts sort of makes me wanna puke. Like trying to design a F1 racer with substandard parts. The h*** with that. Consumers should learn pay for quality goods. They'll last longer and perform better.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    High-end race to the bottom

    And we all thought netbooks were the degenerate case of the race to the bottom. Low sale price + low margin = money pit for the manufacturers.

    But no. Now there's a new race to the bottom. High sale price + low margin = money pit for the manufacturers. It's so bad that Intel had to bribe the Ultrabook makers with $300 million to cover their expenses. Pitiful.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why on Earth

    would anybody but hardcore Apple haters buy a PC MBA wannabe when you can buy the real thong AND run Windows on it???

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