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Analysts decry 'disappointing' ultrabook returns

11 Oct 2012
Dell Latitude 10 tablet and Latitude 6430u ultrabook

Intel's much-hyped ultrabook platform has delivered disappointing returns, according to industry analysts, as business buyers are unmoved by the allure of slim, powerful laptops.

Research firm IHS said that the ultrabook format championed by the chipmaker has fallen short in the market to the point of harming sales figures in key components such as solid-state hard drives (SSDs).

The analyst firm estimated that vendors will ship some 10.5 million SSD units in the third quarter and 17.5 million in the fourth. The company has had to lower the forecast from 13.5 million in the third and 20 million in the fourth quarter, due in part to the sagging ultrabook numbers.

"Intel has not matched its ambitious goals for ultrabooks with the marketing needed to propel the platforms as a desirable, affordable alternative to conventional notebooks and tablets," IHS memory and storage analyst Ryan Chien said.

"This has prompted IHS to lower its cache SSD shipment projection."

Intel has made the ultrabook platform a key component of its strategy in recent years.

The company has touted the sleek design and high performance of the notebook platform as many vendors have used the specifications to craft both traditional clamshell casings and hybrid form-factors which merge notebooks with touchscreen tablet designs.

The ultrabooks are hardly alone in their disappointing retail performance this year. Earlier this week IHS projected that the entire PC market will see sales figures drop off from last year by more than one per cent.

The figure would mark the first annual sales decline seen in the PC market since the fabled dot-com market crash and recession of 2001.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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