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Intels Ultrabooks Not Enough To Stop Plummeting PC Sales & Tablet Phenomenon


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Acer Aspire Ultrabook: A petit 1.35kg and 13 mm.

Intel’s latest computing innovation, the super-sleek Ultrabook, has been introduced to cushion the rapid decline in PC growth, hopefully slowing down tablet sales while boosting that of the PC.

Unlike tablets, Ultrabooks combine MacBook Air portability with a complete operating system, high end processing power and ergonomic keyboards. Intel is hoping their Ultrabooks, which require less compromise, will appeal to tablet customers.

“Ultrabooks are here to stay” said Kate Burleigh, Intel’s Marketing Director. “We are predicting that they will make up 40% of the notebook market by 2012.”

Despite Intel’s enthusiasm, research firms have been rigorously slashing PC sale predictions, with the lowest forecasts in years occurring in 2012.

Gartner’s most recent forecast for PC growth was slashed from 9.8% to 3.8%, 352 million less PCs sold annually than originally estimated 3 months prior. Worse yet, the UK Guardian reports its original estimate was 15.9% at the beginning of the year.

Even rival research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) dropped its predictions, with their June forecasts cut from 7.1% annual growth to 4.2%.  

Pre-tablets, consumers had to settle for a PC to have their computing needs met. But as tablets become part of the mainstream, customers are happy with their computing abilities, especially at the cheaper price. For these customers, the PC has become unnecessary, inconvenient, expensive and ultimately redundant.

For companies like Samsung, Acer and Apple who manufacture both products, tablets aren’t recruiting new customers. Instead it’s a cheaper alternative that costs the company PC sales.

Acer, who most recently announced its Aspire range of Ultrabooks still believes there is a market for PCs, but recognise the pressures ahead.

“[Ultrabooks] now come in where the tablet leaves off,” said Nigel Core, Acer’s GM of Product Marketing in ANZ.

“It can be used for creation requirements. You cannot create and edit Word or PowerPoint documents on a tablet device, such as you can do on a notebook. And with an Ultrabook you get speedier response and longer battery life.”

Gartner’s research director, Rajit Atwal, believes it’s going to take more innovation from manufacturers to entice consumers back to the PC.

“PC vendors need to be really innovative to attract new customers, but it will take an entire year if not more. They need Microsoft to release Windows 8 and Intel to get onto the same page.”

Windows 8 is not expected until Q4 of 2012, and even then experts are expecting the announcement of Windows 8 software for tablets at Microsoft’s Build conference next week. 

Read: Intel Banking On Low Ultrabook Prices Against Premium MacBook Air

Thus far, Microsoft has been abstaining from the tablet market in an attempt to aid its manufacturing partners. But with Apple sales on the rise, it looks like the founding father of the PC will be going along with the times.