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Ultrabooks flop as sales miss target by millions

Ultrabooks flop as sales miss target by millions
Photo by Mika Baumeister / Unsplash

Computer makers expected to sell 22 million Ultrabooks in 2012. Maybe we should say “they hoped” to sell that many ultrabooks.

A report in the US edition of Computerworld says the industry is on track to ship less than half the earlier estimate of 10.3 million units.

This result is a huge miss by any standards.

Shipped does not mean sold

It gets worse. The expectation was sales, the second figure is units shipped.

A shipped computer is not a sold computer. It is a computer that has left the warehouse and has gone to a retailer or other outlet.

Next year doesn’t look any better. Analysts at IHS iSuppli told Computerworld they cut the forecast for 2013 sales from 61 million to 44 million.

Customers look elsewhere, they are not choosing ultrabooks

Instead of saving the PC business, the Ultrabook may prove to be the PC industry’s last stand as we head for a post-PC era.

Ultrabooks are usually slim and light Windows PCs with Intel processors. They take their design cue from Apple’s popular MacBook Air.

Tablets – mainly Apple’s iPad – and smartphones are now the main game.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. With large numbers of tablets and smartphones in circulation, nobody needs more than one PC any more. People are not so much jettisoning PCs as not getting a second, laptop PC.

Ultrabooks cost too much

Ultrabooks have their charms. I spent some happy times early this year with the Acer Aspire S3. It’s great at what it does.

Yet while the Aspire S3 is a great lightweight portable computer, I simply can’t justify buying one when I already have a desktop, a tablet and a smartphone.

There’s one other thing. Ultrabooks are relatively expensive – prices in New Zealand start at around $1000 and the models start to get interesting at around $1400. You can get a lot of tablet for that money.