back to article Early verdict on Intel Ultrabook™ push: FAIL

Intel's much-ballyhooed ultrabook effort is not working out quite as well as Chipzilla had hoped, with global sales of the thin and light laptops falling well behind expectations. "The volume isn't there and it's going to be way below what Intel had hoped for," IDC analyst Jay Chou told CNET on Wednesday. Intel's vision of …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: what could change my mind

Battery operated DVD drive - pretty pointless as you probably have to charge it off USB anyway - may as well just connect it for power / data using USB.

Wireless mouse - are you kidding - bluetooth. Apple have done this for years - look up Magic Mouse.

Wireless headset - are you kidding - bluetooth. Loads available from about £20-25.

Ethernet adapter - are you kidding - many people have wifi and loads of laptops have ethernet onboard or via a small adapter (if they are ultra books).

1200 pixels vertically - think you need to look at the Macbook Pro's.

3G connectivity - some laptops do have it - but most people have iPhones / Androids that do tethering or you get one of those Mifi devices from Vodafone / Three for about £50 and a couple of quid a month.

Sounds like you want a Macbook Pro retina display and iPhone 4S with a Vodafone contract - ker-ching.

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Apparently, Ultrabooks are at least 5-times "deader" than netbooks...

Everybody in the media seems to "know" that the netbook computer is dead. PC World claims that they're dead, PC Magazine claims that they're dead, Forbes claims that they're dead, Gizmodo claims that they're dead, ZDNet claims that they're dead, etc. However, based on the current sales statistics released by Canalys, the IT analysis firm that many of the above-mentioned media outlets sourced to make their netbook death claims, over 5.3-million netbooks were sold worldwide in the first quarter of 2012. And that sales figure is for just one quarter of 2012 mind you. If the IDC analyst that was quoted in this El Reg article is correct, and PC makers only end up seeing around 1-million Ultrabook sales by the year's end, there are only two ways that you can look at it: either Ultrabooks are at least 5-times "deader" than netbooks are, or maybe netbooks are not quite as dead as the media and the tablet floggers would like you to believe. Either way, things don't really seem to be looking all that positive for Intel-based Ultrabooks.

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FAIL

It's nice to know this is the market MSFT are going after with the Surface...

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Trollface

Careful guys

with all the Apple luvin in this article, El Reg might just see itself invited to Apple shindigs again ;-)

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Re: Careful guys

@Jean-Luc

Okay, we'll give you the benefit of the doubt... but could you identify which bits of the article you fiind biased towards Apple?

All I read was:

a/ 'Ultrabooks' selling miserably. MacBook Airs are doing alright.

b/ That photograph of Intel's Ultrabook was 'inspired' by an Apple image - it features the same hand!

Could you point me to the bias I missed?

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Re: Careful guys

>Could you point me to the bias I missed?

Oh, that's easy, they didn't use the accepted Reg standard of referring to Apple as a Foxconn re-brander, nor did they humorously refer to them as crApple.

Also, they forgot to imply that no-one in their right mind buys an Apple product for any other reason other than being a fanboi.

Ergo, clear bias.

----

We are the Reg Collective. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Resistance is futile.

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Childcatcher

Re: Careful guys

That's disgusting 'apple lovin' should be confined to pies

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Here's the problem - El Reg's demographic are not the target market for Ultrabooks/Airs - those users aren't compiling code/video editing/playing CoD at 6 gazillion FPS.

The demographic these machines are aimed at is mostly management types and they're using Office, sending emails, reviewing spreadsheets and surfing the net for news/reports. They can afford the machines (or their employers can) and they place a premium on size and lightness and, yes, on the cool factor too. There's no point in serious techies slagging off these machines - it really is horses for courses.

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FAIL

Manager types

Manager types have their even more expensive micro business laptops. Which their company will require them to use due to their existing corporate contracts.

These are aimed at the 'fashionistas' however most of them will already have an MBA.

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Facepalm

I wonder

how many Macbook Airs they would sell if there were loads of 500quid Macbooks around anyway

I reckon the problem with Ultrabooks is that they are seen as only being boring old Windows PCs really.

The OS is the problem here

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Re: I wonder

Personally I don't mind W7 or XP. IMO it is the price - why pay more for less functionality?

Intel seem to have either been disingenuous about wanting to create Ultrabooks at the $1000 mark or they were trying to shift the consumer away from low value (and presumably low margin) laptops/netbooks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I wonder

Or maybe they are higher spec and cost more to make - I do not see many £300 laptops ship with all flash storage.

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Re: I wonder

Be assured they won't be boring win machines soon, "lets emulate a tablet with locked down quad core x86" release aka win 8 coming soon.

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Re: I wonder

Yes, that's why 90% of the market are out buying Apple OS X PCs, with only 10% buying Windows PCs. Oh wait.

(I like Linux and Windows... I have respect for someone supporting open source, but sorry, if you're saying we should switch from Windows to OS X, you're still supporting a big company.)

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Real reason is and will be win

That is why I try to explain. Massive processing power of x85 and a real gpu will be wasted for stupid "I am a tablet look at my ui" win 8 with possible Microsoft app store lock in.

If it acts and looks like a tablet, why bother? Buy iPad or nexus.

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Anonymous Coward

It's a pointless comparison - you may as well say why is an ultra lightweight tent more expensive than a mass produced (heavier) one or a titanium pot twice the price of the steel one. They both do the same job but I know which I would rather carry around.

Making stuff small and light while still being fast costs money - ask F1.

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Anonymous Coward

If you are buying a Mac there is not a lot of difference in price between a Macbook Pro and Air - you buy the Air if you want it smaller / lighter (and can accept it's limitations) - you buy the Pro if you want the extra features or performance it provides (and can accept it's heaver weight).

Sure you can get a plastic, lower spec., less rugged, bigger, heavier Windows laptop for less money if that's what you want.

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WTF?

Typical ignorant Apple BS...

...as if Macbook Pros weren't bulky and overpriced crap laptops with mediocre hardware at that weight or MB Airs weren't fancy netbooks sold at hilarious price.

But hey, you are just probably too clueless to ever hear about VAIO S series with its ~$1k price tag and Macbook-beating specs at 3.6lbs (fiber casing) or the uber-portable Z series that mops the floor with MBAs but I could bring up some other brands too...

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Re: Typical ignorant Apple BS...

I wouldn't buy a Sony Vaio if you held a gun to my head. Crappy proprietary shitbox things they are. I haven't even got to the part about Sony having all the worst traits of your typical corporate psychopath yet . . .

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MacBook Air

Interesting that Apple don't separate out the Air from the Pro in their figures. Makes me wonder whether there really is any mass customer demand for these 'Ultrabooks'.

Surely if the Air was selling well then Apple would be happy to publish the figures.

Personally I think greater power, memory, graphics and connectivity options at substantially lower prices win out over all the lightweight and expensive options.

Ultrabooks (all of them) are aimed at those who simply do not need to worry about money and hence are only a relatively small market.

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Re: MacBook Air

I spend a lot of time in airports and airport lounges, and coffee shop visits for quick wi-fi access when on the run (roaming data!?! - I am not THAT rich). MBAs out number MBPs massively, like 5:1. This casual empiricism indicates that of the APPL portables, MBAs are the choice of people on the move, because that is their market. Sure, MBPs get carried around too, but there is no doubt that the MBA has been very successful in the "highly modbile" market.

My job requires me to have one with me 24*7. The MBA is the choice.

philip

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MBA - Hot and loud

What the glossy Apple ads don't tell you is that if you try and do more than simple taks like word processing or presentations, the MacBook Air's turns into a howling fan heater. That's why they go down well with sales execs and people who do light work rather than software egninerring/development or IT operations work.

Rather than re-defining notebooks, I'd rather Intel did research to make tablets consume less power so there is a more compelling reason to migrate apps from laptops/desktops to tablet format.

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Reason is Intel

Funny that Apple as a whole development environment and its users allow one thing very interesting. Next day they can announce "we switch to arm for air model, battery life increased 3x" and nobody would even notice the change computing wise. Don't believe me? Ask any Apple developer or even Linux/BSD developer. Linux guys code apps which compile and run fine on esoteric cpus they never used in their life.

I bet this fact really creates massive panic in Intel, even AMD (for future).

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Re: MBA - Hot and loud

"I'd rather Intel did research to make tablets consume less power"

Good grief, have you been living under a stone for the last decade? Intel have spent vast amounts of money on trying to acheive this obvious goal and have thus far failed miserably,

They have also made several announcements that the next big thing to come out of their R&D bunker will "be the one" but the reality has been invariably dissappointing to say the least.

It is abundantly clear to me that the x86 architecture, for reasons that I am not qualified to understand, is unable to scale down in power consumption without seriously affecting performance.

Despite trying desperately to match the power footprint of ARM processors for years intel have come up with nada. Modest reductions in power consumption often with significant reductions in processing power to match. Atom, I am looking at you.

The future of tablets is ARM and iOS/open source, the Wintel hegemony is fast becoming a footnote in history. I'm sorry if that means you won't be able to use your copy of Photoshop Super Pro Plus on your tablet but I suggest you get used to that reality.

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Stop

If you say Intel had been granted the trademark, surely it's not ULTRABOOK™ but ULTRABOOK®?

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Ultraportables around long before Apple

You're claiming that they copied Apple, because the side of laptops both look the same? You should get a job at the Apple Patent Department!

Expensive high-end ultra-portables were around long before Apple came along. Indeed, ultra-portables being more expensive was actually the norm - the change that happened more recently has been the drop in price, first with mainstream laptops, then with ASUS revolutionising the market in 2007 with cheap ultra-portables.

I suspect the big problem "Ultrabooks", or ultra-portable PCs in general (including Apple's) face is that consumers are used to low end laptops, and most people don't see the point in spending loads more. But then, I'm not sure that is a problem - they're a premium high end product, and it's usual for sales to be less than lower end cheaper products.

Saying that Apple sell more ultra-portables is just yet another hand-picked statistic to make Apple look better. Firstly as you say yourself, the stat is for all their laptops, and you just guess that it's mostly ultra-portables. But who cares if other PC companies are selling less in one particular segment, if overall they're still selling more than Apple? Indeed, perhaps most people simply don't like the high end ultra-portable form factor and pice point (personally I see it the worst of both worlds - my Samsung netbook is far more portable, and for high end use, my Clevo is far more powerful, and doesn't need to be as portable), just as most people also don't buy Macs. You might as well praise Apple for being number one in "phones that have 3.5" screens".

Also since Apple PCs also use Intel, I'm not sure how it's a fail for Intel anyway. They make money, whichever company it is selling PCs.

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Holmes

People who use Laptops need/want value, features that "Ultrabooks" don't have

It's a fact that most people who buy a Windows Laptop PC are less affluent than Mac owners. They want a product that will do it all from productivity/office software to surfing to playing media because they can't afford or justify anything more.

They look for "value" and having to buy all manner of adapters, external drives etc etc to have comparable functionality does not provide value.

When you can buy a budget laptop for under $500 that will do most of what a desktop can, that's a bargain.

If you must add hardware to a pricey "Ultrabook" to make it do the same thing as the cheap laptop it's an outright luxury.

The compact lightweight design of an Ultrabook already costs far more than it should. The added costs of additional devices does not help the price point.

Instead of chasing Apple, Intel and Microsoft need to concentrate on meeting customer needs and expectations. They do not know who their market is anymore and they don't recognize that luxury does not sell well in this down economy.

The upcoming "Surface" tablet by Microsoft is an opportunity to fix that. The price point should be around $600 to $700 with room for discounting. Processor & Ram Specs should be high enough to run real office, cad, or other common business software, bluetooth, wifi, ethernet, multiple USB ports, full size SD/HC slot (64 Gb), high resolution display at least large enough for A4/8.5 by 11 inch full size documents in portrait mode, capacitive touchscreen, and available in BOTH Win7 and Win 8 OS. You could have a docking station that included a DVD drive but it would be nice to have one onboard.

Don't lock yourself into Intel, Microsoft. AMD would kill to work with you on this product and they have a killer APU with better graphics than Intel will ever have. Remember Intel is working with the enemy now.

No business will touch Win 8 for a few years so Win 7 is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT!!!!! You want to sell this to BUSINESSES so they need a manageable, secure, mature OS.

Anyone who says otherwise at MS is a daft fool who must be a covert Apple employee.

If all these features are there, this price point will outsell the iPAD and the MBA and you will have your market back.

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Stop

Ultrabooks are still too expensive

I bought an Asus Zenbook last year and I absolutely love it. It is (relatively) high spec and incredibly light and with the SSD it simply flies along. However, it cost me £1000 which is better value/performance than a Macbook air but is a fair chunk of cash. Intel simply can't expect mass adoption of ultrabooks unless the price creeps down towards the £500 barrier, there is nothing behind the slow sales than that in my opinion.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ultrabooks are still too expensive

Id be interested to see the spec list, as I remember the asus zenbook had similar specs (maybe a 256GB SDD instead of 128), but in a plastic case for that 1000?

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K
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WTF?

Paul Otellini slide..

More hyper-sh*t... please show me an Ultrabook that really looks that think!

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WTF?

Re: Paul Otellini slide..

umm what?

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h3

None of either ultrabooks or the macbook air are robust enough for the money.

(Don't know if Panasonic do a Toughbook ultrabook that might be ok).

Even the lenovo Thinkpad branded stuff is nowhere near as robust as it was during the days when IBM did the whole thing in house.

(Other bits of hardware comes and goes but my Thinkpad X31 is still going strong and pretty indestructible despite my best efforts. It is only a 1.7Ghz pentium-m but it works better than any netbook I have come across. Graphics are pretty mediocre though (Much better under Linux using accelerated X)).

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Ripoff pricing with crappy, outdated integrated grapics and pathetic screen resolution FAILS...

...surprising, it is not.

Sony's VAIO S w/ 1600x900 is something an Ultrabook were meant to be but never managed to come even close - and a loaded VAIO S premium is about $100-150 more than an Ultrabook, let alone the fact that if you are fine with Sandy Bridge in it (previous, i5-2xxx-based S-series) then you can get it around $700-800 which makes it a bargain (provided you are up for a replacement if you get one of with the noisy fan issue.)

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Sil
FAIL

A missed opportunity

The ultrabooks aren't selling as expected because Intel compromised the vision by authorizing underwhelming machines.

It had the opportunity to re-define a class of high end, "can do almost anything" notebooks, a sure sign of good performance that would reassure the buyer.

Instead people are surely disappointed by slow, not future proof and even probably not present proof machines in the same way I know of very very few satisfied netbook customers. Most felt trapped after having purchased netbooks that couldn't start and stop Windows XP in less than five minutes and take an hour to install a few meager updates.

Also the battery life is not enough. It should be 8 hours on a standard well defined battery test.

4GB RAM? Non-SSD hard drives? No display port? No Ethernet port? This isn't the way to go. Look at notebooks forum and you will see droves of customers purchasing an ultrabook and separately buying RAN and SSD and upgrading it as soon as it arrives.

In addition what's with super small screens and indecently low resolution such as 1366x768 that were maybe ok 10 years ago? Why produce ultrabooks with less than 1080p?

It's really sad because top ultrabooks should be interesting.

I'm looking for an Asus-like prime zenbook with 14" full hd monitor, a display port (not a facelol mini vga) and an ethernet port, at least 3 USB 3 ports, at the very least 8GB of RAM with a 16GB option, at the very least 128GB SSD with 256 and 512GB options and a 6 to 8 cells battery.

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Anonymous Coward

Pigs will fly before Ultrabooks become popular

The bottom line is Ultrabooks are not Ultra at all except in cost. There are many other, better choices that meet most people's needs for a lower cost and which perform better, which is precisely why Intel can't sell these failures even when paying people to buy an Ultrabook. If you're one of the few who sees great value or need in an Ultrabook then you're in luck because no one else wants one.

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FAIL

Don't forget that a picture of an MBA used to be the photo used on Intel's homepage and all over its website generally to promote "Ultrabooks."

As a side note, I filed a complaint with the FTC over false advertising and alerted Intel support to the issue. After taking several months to respond to my allegations, they denied that it was a picture of a Macbook Air. Even though it clearly has a mockup of the proprietary and patented Apple MagSafe port in the mockup. :/

Dumbasses. Marketing FAIL.

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