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Initial Ultrabook sales reportedly dissapointing

Acer and Asus may be only producing half of their initial shipment goals with no plans to speed up

The advent of Ultrabooks to take on Apple’s highly successful MacBook Air lineup may already be performing poorly.

According to sources close to DigiTimes, Acer and Asus are both expected to ship only 100,000 Ultrabook units by the end of 2011, short of their initial targets of 200,000 to 300,000 units. The high prices have been singled out as the main culprit for the low shipments.

Ultrabooks in their current state are already having difficulty hitting the promised sub $1000 MSRP. The Acer Aspire S3 is the sole exception with a starting price of $899, but it had so many corners cut that the core Ultrabook experience is ultimately hindered. Acer was also reportedly vocal about the high prices of the Intel CPUs and wished for more reasonable prices for Ultrabooks to succeed.

The Asus UX21E and UX31E Ultrabooks, otherwise known as Zenbooks, are quite expensive as well at $999 and $1049, respectively. While they offer SSDs, magnesium builds and Sandy Bridge chipsets, they may not be as aggressively priced as some consumers have been hoping for. The entry-level 11.6-inch MacBook Air, for example, is currently selling for the same price as the 11.6-inch Asus Zenbook.

Since the Ultrabook market is relatively new to Acer and Asus, it’s not surprising to hear that both may be treading cautiously with respect to shipment numbers. The source claims that the two Taiwanese manufacturers have yet to increase production, citing “unclear market demand for the new notebooks.”

Still, Ultrabooks are only beginning and will definitely continue to evolve throughout 2012 as more manufacturers join the fray. The ultrathin notebooks are expected to carry Ivy Bridge by sometime 2012 and maybe even frames made of fiberglass. It is certainly still too early to count Ultrabooks out of the equation.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-10-31 (Update: 2012-05-26)