PC makers losing interest in tablets, focusing on Ultrabooks

By on December 15, 2011, 7:30 AM

After struggling to play catch-up for more than a year, PC vendors are reportedly losing interest in competing against Apple (and now Amazon) in the tablet business. As you well know, Apple has maintained an iron grip on the market for nearly two years with its iPad, while Amazon's first tablet has been highly successful, becoming the e-tailler's best-selling product this holiday season. Although the company hasn't released any sales figures, it claims to have sold millions of Kindle Fires before the Black Friday craze began.

Given the rise of tablets, netbook profits have been whittled to the bone and most vendors have already abandoned the mini-notebook segment with Acer and Asus clashing over the remaining turf. Meanwhile, traditional laptop sales are currently being strained by worldwide economic turmoil and supply shortages stemming from recent flooding in Thailand. As gloomy as things might appear, DigiTimes' sources believe the notebook industry is in for a rapid upturn in the coming year, especially with the rollout of Ultrabooks.

PC makers are reportedly enthusiastic about Intel's thin-and-light initiative, not least because Ultrabooks offer greater profitability than standard mobile machines. The MacBook Air competitors kicked off to a mediocre start this year as Acer and Asus quickly halved their sales forecasts. At least part of the problem is blamed on the systems' unexpectedly high retail prices. Some early models breached Intel's intended sub-$1,000 target, costing more than the Air. Despite witnessing a lukewarm response, insiders remain optimistic.

PC makers are implementing various cost-cutting measures to ensure the next wave or two of Ultrabooks meet Intel's pricing guidelines. The chipmaker itself is supposedly offering partners a marketing subsidy to cut MSRP prices by 5-10% in conjunction with heavily discounted CPUs. DigiTimes also reported last month that Ultrabook manufacturers are looking to cut corners by using more plastic internals. Along with lower prices, Ultrabook sales will undoubtedly benefit from the upcoming hype of Ivy Bridge and Windows 8.




User Comments: 12

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jonny702 said:

I think ultrabooks need to come a little further before I buy one. Most of the ones I have seen have a SSD for hibernation, but why not have a SSD for boot and a conventional platter drive for Storage of docs? I'd also want to see some light graphics capability and only USB 3.0 ports.... Finally, I think the ability to have a docking station at home but still have an attractive looking ultrabook would be great. If they do these things, I'll buy one

chaboi390 said:

indeed ultra books do have more leeway than tablets in performance and functions. But too pricey for what its worth.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I've just been waiting for tablet prices to drop. I would like a tablet with windows, and decent performance...I think from what I've seen those cost somewhere between $1000 to $1600. This might be a good opportunity for them to drop?

Guest said:

finally they are getting smart.

Guest said:

I never had a laptop or notebook (and I think I never will) and I don't have interest in tablets.

I've always been a big fan of desktop computers and I don't know what's going to happen to them with all this "evolution" going on.

In fact, I don't really care about smart phones or tablets. If they disappeared, I wouldn't mind at all.

It's difficult to imagine a nVidia GTX 580 graphics card or a AMD Radeon HD 6990 inside these tablets, not to mention liquid cooling systems, big power supplies, nice cases and various hard drives arranged in RAID configuration.

I use my PC for media purposes (videos, pictures and their related editing software) as well as for gaming.

I hope the "good old PC Desktop" don't go away!

Long and prosperous life for PC desktop!

Cheers!

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Remember that eventually Ultrabooks are meant to offer touch screens. That, along with Windows 8 on board, could spell the future of ultraportables... detachable screens that act as tablets running Windows, similar to what Asus offers with their Eee Transformer line but with a full fledged desktop OS and applications.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I would happily snap up an ultrabook if they:

1) Had Discrete graphics cards that were Nvidia 330M or above in power.

(Also would like it to be able to switch graphics to the in-built intel one to save power when on battery)

2) Fully SSD and about 120GB +

3) Cost less or around £800

4) Has a very nice 1080p Screen

5) Was made out of decent materials and was of a solid quality, If i'm going to be taking it out and about i'd rather it was strong enough to take the odd beating.

6) In-built speakers are of some standard that doesn't make your ears bleed after 30 seconds of listening to anything, and no, I don't want Dr Dre to touch my laptop.

As long as the proccessor is Core i5 or above and has 4GB of RAM or more, I would happily pick one up.

Guest said:

Those points #2-5 will come true by the time Ivy Bridge ships. Ultrabooks are already made of decent materials (see Asus X31). Ivy Bridge should be much faster since it will have a lower TDP which, improvement in IPC and likely higher turbo boost. I am not sure about your speaker requirement since even my 17 inch laptop that has plenty of room for good speakers sounds like garbage. That's why I spend $ on headphones instead. It's the same ideas as trying to shove a GTX580 or HD6990 into a laptop - not going to happen without making it bulky. If you want good sound, it's NOT going to happen in a laptop, ever. You'd be better off getting a good set of IEMs or a pair of over-the-ear headphones.

Anyway, as far as discrete graphics, pretty much all notebook discrete graphics below GTX560 are crap anyway. So again, pretty much worthless to have GT520/540 or anything of that sort of underwhelming performance level.

Guest said:

quote: "PC makers losing interest in tablets, focusing on Ultrabooks"

I think what they mean to have said is that they just can't compete against the Ipad....

Panda218 Panda218 said:

Yeah I wouldnt be looking at the graphics card as a major selling point. The device is made to be portable and power efficient. Throwing a graphic card in there ruins both ideas as well as the final asking price. In due time services like Onlive will actually deliver the perfect mobile gaming experience and we wont have to pay out the A## for a crappy mobile GPU. Besides if you're purchasing a laptop for gaming you're doing it all wrong...

Long live the Desktop PC

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

Those points #2-5 will come true by the time Ivy Bridge ships. Ultrabooks are already made of decent materials (see Asus X31). Ivy Bridge should be much faster since it will have a lower TDP which, improvement in IPC and likely higher turbo boost. I am not sure about your speaker requirement since even my 17 inch laptop that has plenty of room for good speakers sounds like garbage. That's why I spend $ on headphones instead. It's the same ideas as trying to shove a GTX580 or HD6990 into a laptop - not going to happen without making it bulky. If you want good sound, it's NOT going to happen in a laptop, ever. You'd be better off getting a good set of IEMs or a pair of over-the-ear headphones.

Anyway, as far as discrete graphics, pretty much all notebook discrete graphics below GTX560 are crap anyway. So again, pretty much worthless to have GT520/540 or anything of that sort of underwhelming performance level.

Well no, the 330GT is much more flexable than the built-in Intel one, trust me, I've tested it with World of Warcraft.

Also when I say "Decent Sound" I mean, better than the current crap, why is it my laptop speakers sound worse than my iPhone 4S speaker? It just doesn't make sense.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Good move imo, especially if we start seeing competitive prices with solid specs that actually warrant a purchase over thicker notebooks. And I'm with Julio that if they can pull off touch screens, the future will be bright.

Guest said:

quote: "PC makers losing interest in tablets, focusing on Ultrabooks"

I think what they mean to have said is that they just can't compete against the Ipad....

They can compete if they so choose, they however can't sell overpriced hardware that isn't considered a status symbol. Just look at recent sales going on with tablets, once they hit $300 or less they start flying off the shelves. Apple is the only one that has proven they can push prices high for what many still consider an addition to existing personal computing devices and not a real replacement. Amazon in this respect got it right and will surely do well for themselves.

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