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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, Amazon.com, 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 Guspaz on 11/25/2013 6:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
In my opinion, ultrabooks are the only thing that makes sense unless you need a screen bigger than 13" or you intend to use your laptop as a desktop replacement, and there's no reason you couldn't make a 17" ultrabook.

The performance of low-power CPUs has gotten to the point where the vast majority of things people do with a computer work very well. I know a lot of my friends insist on lugging around enormous laptops that weigh three times more than mine, but they don't do anything with them that actually requires the monstrous bulk.


RE: Ultrabooks make no sense.
By Jaybus on 11/26/2013 12:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have users here who have tried everything. 15" Asus ultrabooks, 15" MB pro, 13" MB Air, iPad, Nexus, and even forgoing a laptop and using only smartphones. Smartphone, iPad, and Nexus lasted exactly one trip each. Didn't have the needed functionality or a keyboard. Ultrabooks (which includes MB Pro and Air) worked well while they lasted.

Some of my guys and gals who travel little, but work both from home and in the office swear by the ultrabooks. None still use tablets for work. The ones who truly travel extensively have suffered enough device failures and incompatibilities that they have moved to lugging around Panasonic Toughbooks. They're heavy. They're slower. They aren't stylish. But reliability and physical toughness turned out to be a much more critical spec for them than weight, performance, battery life, or style.

I think there is definitely a business use case for ultrabooks, as they make decent workstations using external monitor/mouse/keyboard and line power, yet can also handle light travel/mobile. As a consumer device, though, ultrabooks are simply still too expensive.


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