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SSD suppliers expecting slow initial Ultrabook adoption rates

Ultrabook prices may be too high and too close to the MacBook Air to accelerate mainstream SSD adoption rates

While Ultrabooks are already available in the form of Acer’s Aspire S3 or Asus’s Zenbooks, they may not begin to really take off until prices come down dramatically.

According to industry sources close to DigiTimes, various SSD suppliers claim that the prices of Ultrabooks are still too high and “too close to the popular MacBook Air to be favored.”

The same suppliers are also hoping that the ultrathin notebooks can speed up adoption rates of SSDs for laptops and PCs. Currently, HDDs are still generally preferred over SSDs with regards to costs per gigabyte, although SSDs have been slowly eating their way into more wallet-friendly territories. For Ultrabooks, however, SSDs will continue to be high-end options until more price-aggressive solutions come into play.

The anonymous sources suggest that the SSD manufacturers themselves can absorb some of the production costs in order to lower final retailer prices and build up market share. More advanced manufacturing processes, such as a transition to sub-20nm procedures, can also help lower costs. It’s worth mentioning that Intel is already sinking $300 million to aid Ultrabook manufacturers in meeting the sub $1000 MSRP.

The Acer Aspire S3 is a unique case where it is so far the only Ultrabook to include both a 20GB SSD and a 320GB HDD to cut costs for a final $899 price point. While an interesting solution, Acer chose to cut costs by almost neglecting the SSD altogether, which is ultimately counter-productive to what SSD manufacturers want when attempting to lower Ultrabook costs.


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Allen Ngo, 2011-10-24 (Update: 2012-05-26)