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E-tailer slashes up to a third off poorly selling ultrabook models

As Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) is looking to bolster the reputation of Windows 8 and its recently-released successor Windows 8.1,, Inc. (AMZN) today is offering a one day deal on a small assortment of Windows 8.1 devices at fire sale prices.
The deals include three devices certified as Ultrabooks by Intel Corp. (INTC) -- the Dell XPS 12 12.4-inch convertible 2-in-1 Touchscreen tablet/laptop ($680 USD, 32 percent off, normally $1000 USD), the Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) ATIV Book 5 14-inch laptop (Core i5 edition) ($600 USD, 33 percent off, normally $900 USD), and the ATIV Book 5 14-inch laptop (Core i3 edition) ($500, 29 percent off, normally $700 USD).
Intel's ultrabook form factor has struggled in sales, falling short of the chipmakers bold growth predictions for the ultralight, ultrathin form factor devices.  The ultrabooks struggles have paralleled and somewhat overlapped those of partner Microsoft's Windows 8/8.1.

Samsung Ativ Book 5
Samsung Ativ Book 5 (w/ Touchscreen, Windows 8.1

Key reasons for weak ultrabook sales have been overly high prices, underwhelming graphics (partially due to Intel's sluggishness in pushing Iris Pro product to market), and less than spectacular battery life.  Intel has vowed to get more aggressive on pricing and we may be seeing a peek at that.
In addition to the Ultrabooks there's also the Lenovo Group, Ltd.'s (HKG:0992) IdeaPad S210 11.6-inch touchscreen laptop ($300 USD, 29 percent off, usually $420 USD) and ASUSTek Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) 1015E-DS01 10.1-Inch laptop with no touchscreen ($240 USD, 20 percent off, normally $300 USD).
Lenovo Ideapad S210
Lenovo Ideapad S210 11.6-inch. (w/ Touchscreen, Windows 8.1)

To be clear, it's not been uncommon in the past decade to see laptops sell with small discounts around the holiday season from top retailers.  OEMs tend to bake a little "wiggle room" into their price points by overcharging on things like RAM and storage upgrades.  But such price cuts are typically modest -- 15 to 20 percent at most on the high end and 10 percent or less on the low end.  To see these kinds of massive price cuts, speaks to the historic decline in PC sales.

Indeed, ASUS in its recent quarterly report expressed that it no longer had confidence on Windows driving its laptop sales, and it would become the latest to produce a "Chromebook", which carries a free Linux-based Google Inc. (GOOG) operating system.

Sources: Amazon [1], [2], [3], [4]

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RE: Ultrabooks make no sense.
By amanojaku on 11/25/2013 1:35:36 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you understand the point of ultrabooks. They are meant to compete with subnotebooks like the MacBook Air. Subnotebooks are not high-end machines, they are thin and light, with performance greater than a netbook.

Intel has noticed the distaste for small screens:

What high-end parts are you talking about, btw? Certainly not the processors; most of them are dual-core i5s running under 2GHz. Installed RAM is generally 2-4GiB (upgradeable, though). Storage is SSD, but they aren't high-performance SSDs. Many are missing optical storage, I/O ports, etc...

RE: Ultrabooks make no sense.
By Jeffk464 on 11/25/2013 3:08:21 PM , Rating: 2
with performance greater than a netbook

Performance and quality, netbooks were a little sketchy on the hardware.

RE: Ultrabooks make no sense.
By Solandri on 11/25/2013 3:16:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think you understand the point of ultrabooks. They are meant to compete with subnotebooks like the MacBook Air. Subnotebooks are not high-end machines, they are thin and light, with performance greater than a netbook.

That was true in the past. CPUs have now gotten fast enough that even a low-end processor is sufficient if you aren't doing massive 3D fluid dynamics simulations. The vast majority of new laptop recommendations I give are for i3 systems, simply because the buyer doesn't need the extra heft (or cost or reduced battery life) of an i5 or i7 or quad core. So no they're not "high end" in terms of what you could potentially get. But "high end" on computers has now started to become akin to a Ferarri or Lamborghini in cars - a pointless waste of money if you don't need that extra power (i.e. you're a race car driver, or a rich guy wanting to flaunt it).

Technology has gotten to the point where you can now have your cake, and eat it too. You can have a powerful machine in a subnotebook size. Open up a modern laptop and you'll find the circuitry only takes up about a third of its internal space (the rest is battery, HDD, optical drive, empty space if the laptop isn't wedge-shaped). Open up a modern tablet and you'll find the circuitry only takes up a thin sliver about the size of two sticks of gum. The only remaining constraint on laptop size and weight is now screen size. And with flexible screens coming down the road I don't see even that lasting.

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