Digitimes Insight: Ultrabook key lies in penetration of ULV CPUs in mainstream notebook market
Joanne Chien, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Thursday 18 August 2011]
Facing tablet PCs' assault and Apple MacBook Air's strong performance, Intel and notebook supply chain players have been pushing Ultrabook products aggressively, hoping to re-boost shipment growth of the notebook industry, and Intel is hoping its cooperation with the notebook ecosystem will increase the company's competitiveness against Apple, according to Joanne Chien, senior analyst of Digitimes Research.
For notebook brand vendors, Ultrabooks will become a key product to defend against tablet PCs and Apple's expansion in the IT market; however, if Intel intends to develop Ultrabooks with a similar business direction as MacBook Air, the company will end up failing because of high costs and uncoordinated business models, and the company will also miss the important chance to further develop into ultra-thin notebooks before ARM-based Windows 8 notebooks appear in the market.
Therefore, Ultrabook's target segment should be the traditional notebook market and not the niche ultra-thin notebook market, Chien noted.
Chien noted that the ultra-thin notebook market with products such as MacBook Air, limited by product cost and business model, is unlikely to become the major battlefield for the brand vendors' Ultrabooks, but the 14- to 15-inch mainstream notebook markets are expected to see demand recover because of the adoption of Ultrabook's design elements such as thin and light physical shapes, longer battery times, and faster boot times.
Chien added that allowing ultra low voltage (ULV) processors to penetrate into the mainstream notebook market would generate Intel more positives, compared to limiting them to the ultra-thin notebook market. The action would also help Intel to create a beneficial lineup to prevent ARM group from cutting into the notebook market; however, such a move will require Intel to compromise on its ULV CPU pricing.