by Anton Shilov
11/07/2011 | 09:38 PM
It is completely logical to expect that over time ultrabooks will replace conventional notebooks completely since ultra-thin laptops have been replacing traditional notebooks for years now. What is interesting is that according to relatively conservative forecasts, the so-called ultrabooks will achieve over 40% market share by 2015, or about three years after initial roll out in early 2012.
Ultrabooks will represent 43% of global notebook PC shipments in 2015, up from 2% in 2011 and 13% in 2012. Following their first year of shipments in 2011, Ultrabook penetration of the notebook market will increase rapidly, rising to 28% in 2013 and to 38% in 2014, according to a report by IHS iSuppli.
Ultrabooks are defined as notebooks that are extremely light and thin, at less than 0.8" in thickness. While ultrabooks employ a full PC operating system like Microsoft Windows, they also add features now commonly found in media tablets, such as instant-on activation, always-connected wireless links, solid state drives and battery lives that are longer than eight hours on a single charge. Ultrabooks are targeted to be priced at less than $1000, although most of the early models are more expensive.
Future ultrabooks are expected to employ convertible form factors and touch screens, allowing owners to use these devices either as notebooks or tablets, depending on their needs. The initial target market for ultrabooks will be consumers. However, PC makers also are likely to develop models aimed at corporate users. The strongest supporter of ultrabooks is Intel Corp., the largest maker of chips in the world.
While Intel’s ultrabook push could be viewed as a reaction to the rise of media tablets, the effort could set the stage for the revitalization of the electronics supply chain.
“With the introduction of the ultrabook, the computing industry is poised for yet another paradigm shift. The technology now exists that actually could bring about a convergence of major mobile devices. If an attractive price point can be achieved and the consumer deems this a must-have product, the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain could rapidly reorient itself to serve the fast-growing ultrabook market,” said Len Jelinek, research director and analyst, semiconductor manufacturing at IHS.
Jelinek predicted this event could bring to an end the current slowdown in the semiconductor and electronics manufacturing industries.
“In the age of the ultrabook, the demand for technology would not be limited to only a few companies. Ultrabooks require a comprehensive bill of materials, so companies focused on memory, logic and power management all would participate in the revitalization of demand,” said Mr. Jelinek.
One potential significant growth area would be in flash memory. The transition from the hard disk drives commonly used in notebooks to the solid state drives employed in ultrabooks will increase unit demand for flash memory while stabilizing chip average selling prices. The benefits would not just be confined to chip manufacturers alone but also positively impact other supply chain participants, such as battery suppliers and electronics contract manufacturers.