21 million ultrabooks shipped worldwide in 2012
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A report published by ABI Research on December 3, 2012 has stated that global shipments of ultrabooks will top 21 million by the end of 2012. This will be good news for Intel, who had earlier made an optimistic claim that 40% of notebooks shipped would be ultrabooks by the end of the year. Poor sales during the first half of the year made this claim by Intel look rather hollow.
Although ultrabooks should appeal to a wide portion of the mobile computing market, especially with characteristics such as aesthetically pleasing dimensions (18 mm for 13.3-inch displays and smaller and 21 mm for 14-inch displays and larger) and Intel Core processors, sales have been sluggish because of high retail prices and competition from the well-received MacBook Air.
Fortunately, Windows 8 seems to have come to the rescue, with ABI Research commenting that it appeared that many consumers were waiting for the release of the new Microsoft OS before purchasing an ultrabook. North America is the largest market for ultrabooks, with 50% of shipments heading for that region, followed by the Western Europe and Asia-Pacific regions.
Intel will be likely more cautious with future statements, but still has the business market to fully tap into (personal users currently make up the majority of ultrabook purchases made) and will be heralding its Shark Bay Platform (Haswell microarchitecture, 9 hours minimum battery life) in mid-2013, which should make ultrabooks an even more attractive prospect.