SSD shipments soaring despite weak ultrabook performance

By on October 11, 2012, 6:30 PM

With prices falling well below $1 per gigabyte, many enthusiasts can finally justify the luxury of running their operating system and applications off flash storage. SSD shipments have climbed sharply this year, with each quarter topping the previous period by millions of units, and iSuppli expects that trend to continue as flash drives become the standard in non-budget notebooks and desktops by the latter half of this decade.

Manufacturers shipped about 5.8 million drives in the first quarter of 2012 and that figure jumped to around 7.1 million by the second quarter for 12.9 million units shipped during the first half of this year. Analysts at iSuppli expect that figure to more than double to 28.0 million units during the second half of 2012, with an estimated 10.5 million units due to ship in the third quarter and 17.5 million projected to ship in the fourth.

All told, iSuppli expects the industry to close the year with about 41.0 million shipments producing revenues of $7.5 billion. Of note, all of these numbers exclude hybrid cache solutions that employ flash memory. Additionally, despite the rapid growth of SSD shipments, iSuppli says the industry will fall short of previous forecasts. Analysts originally expected manufacturers to move about 33 million units during the second half of 2012, with 13.0 million in the third quarter and 20.0 million in the fourth, or about 5 million more drives.

The drop to 28 million is at least partly blamed on Intel's ultrabook initiative. "Intel Corp. has not matched its ambitious goals for ultrabooks with the marketing needed to propel the platforms as a desirable, affordable alternative to conventional notebooks and tablets," iSuppli analyst Ryan Chien said. Earlier this month, iSuppli drastically reduced its forecast for ultrabook shipments in 2012 from 22 million units to 10.3 million. Likewise, it cut 2013's projection from 61 million to 44 million, citing weak marketing and high prices.

To encourage strong sales in 2013, the firm believes ultrabooks need to incorporate new features and lower unit prices to around $600 on average instead of $1,000. If that doesn't happen, iSuppli foresees hard times for ultrabooks. "With the economy languishing, ultrabook sellers may have trouble finding buyers at the current pricing,especially with fierce competition from new mobile computing gadgets such as the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire HD and forthcoming Microsoft Surface," senior iSuppli analyst Craig Stice said.




User Comments: 7

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1 person liked this | Win7Dev said:

Ultrabooks aren't selling because nobody wants to pay $1200 for a 1.7Ghz dual core processor with integrated graphics and usually 4gb or 6gb of ram. I can easily get a nice 2.4Ghz w/boost up to 3.2Ghz or so for $1100 with 2gb graphics card, 1080p screen, and 8gb of ram. So why not have an extra 3 pounds and 4x the performance for $100 less?

1 person liked this | ikesmasher said:

Not only are ultrabooks stupidly priced in my opinion, the form factors stupid. Having a normal length/width laptop with a slimmer form factor doesnt make it any more convienient IMO-netbooks were much better for that market. Ultrabooks are just a bad idea.

EEatGDL said:

I don't think ultrabooks are a bad idea, for most casual people are appealing. The pricing segment is a very bad idea.

nismo91 said:

Ultrabooks are great, when the price is alright. lightweight platform, thin body and longer battery life are really useful. especially when you already have pretty good desktop PC sitting at home for other purposes.

psycros psycros said:

Even if you could make an "ultrabook" with performance to rival a high-end laptop I still wouldn't buy one. First there's the absurd prices, but then there's the terrible input ergonomics. Left-of-center touchpads with buttons on the <I>bottom</I>? Crap keyboards stolen from a $5 pocket calculator? WTH, industry? Dell and Lenovo make the only portables I can still use..if they go any cheaper I'll never buy another laptop. Who in God's name thought turning alphanumeric keyboards into V-Tech toys was a great idea? Oh, right..Apple, the company with the zombie following that <b>other</b> companies think are normal consumers.

Guest said:

"So why not have an extra 3 pounds and 4x the performance for $100 less?"

you don't have any idea how much people who willingly pay extra bucks even with less performance (but still adequate) for having a lighter ultrabooks..

Guest said:

"Not only are ultrabooks stupidly priced in my opinion, the form factors stupid. Having a normal length/width laptop with a slimmer form factor doesnt make it any more convienient"

really? as far as I see people wants a slimmer form factor with normal length/width nowadays, and of course it more convenient because it's lighter and the display isn't compromised, you don't want to work with lighter laptop but compromising the size means compromising the display size that will make you not very convenience when working with your laptop..

"IMO-netbooks were much better for that market. Ultrabooks are just a bad idea"

netbooks' performance is far below ultrabooks' performance.. most people find netbook is not enough for their needs..

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