Ultrabooks to reach 45% Penetration in 2015 – iSuppli

Updated on 07 November 2011 by


I’ve seen Ultrabook market penetration estimates that range from 40% by end of 2012 all the way across to this, the lowest forecast so far. 13% by end of 2012.

As we all know by now, the Ultrabook is radically different to traditional notebooks in terms of design and production so as far as I’m concerned, if we see all major manufacturers on board with production lines and supply-chains responding, there will be no turning back and the Ultrabook design and production methods will permeate most of the laptop market. I expect we will see the first signs that the Ultrabook design is succeeding in late 2012 with netbooks, Windows 8 ‘Ultraslates’ and perhaps a new style of MacBook Pro looking distinctly ‘new-wave’ and as the Ultrabook design starts to become cheaper because of volumes, the market will flip completely.

By the end of 2013 Intel could find it impossible to retain any sort of Ultrabook definition because most notebooks will offer similar style, always-on and SSD characteristics. [Unless Intel have a bunch of patents tucked away with the Ultrabook trademark!]

You could even argue that ARM-based notebooks running Windows 8 in 2014 could count towards a loose Ultrabook definition. They will certainly look like Ultrabooks. [Again, unless Intel is building a patent barrier.]

The iSuppli estimate of 45% by 2015 is too low in my opinion but really it’s up to Intel and their definition of an Ultrabook, which could change at any minute.


6 Comments For This Post

  1. Michael says:

    ARM based notebooks will take a huge pie. It will be a perfect device. Super low power consumption (as iswith all ARM devices) would mean more than 10 hours battery life and running Windows 8, would make the ideal mobile device.

    Infact, ARM devices might just overtake Ultrabooks just like how tablets (especially the ipad2) has overtaken notebooks.

    You see, 90% of people using a notebook/netbook just want to surf the net and don’t need the processing power. They want a cheap device that has long battery life. Now with Windows 8, all the more better. These 90% of people have their primary PC or other powerful notebook at home to do their cpu intensive tasks like video editting, CAD etc.

    The remaining percentageof people wanting a powerful notebook or ultrabook make a small segment of the pie. This is so evident with the sucess of tablets

  2. James says:

    It’s not as evident as you seem to think. Tablets have not overtaken notebooks. Apple just sells more than any one other company but still sells less than the others combined.

    While the mobile market is rapidly growing it’s Smart Phones rather than tablets that are likely to dominate. Since they are actually pocket-able and cover the basics, with more people willing to accept the limitations they impose than those who want to deal with the limitations of tablets.

    The actual percentage of people who just want to surf the net are likely much less than 90% because a lot of people actually need to do work on computers. So even if that’s all they want to do not everyone can settle for just surfing the Internet.

    After all there is a reason why things like keyboards are the number one accessory bought for tablets and why services like Citrix are so prevalent for mobile devices. People need to work too and a lot of that work needs more than just web surfing and checking emails to get done.

    Even the push for cloud computing is a sign people want to do a lot more than just surfing the Internet.

    While I agree that ARM does stand to continue to dominate the mobile market, they’ve yet to show they can really compete in the traditional PC markets.

    Since ARM still has many limitations, like they’re all 32bit processors. 64bit architecture has only recently been officially introduced but it’ll be years before actual products come to market.

    Until Windows 8 comes out ARM won’t have a mainstream desktop OS to offer for their platform. Some companies are even waiting for Windows 8 to come out before they start offering options like ARM based Chromebooks.

    While processor performance is only reaching Intel ATOM level with the next gen ARM chips coming out in 2012. But next gen chips won’t be that cheap when they first come out and even with Windows 8 there is the question of the lack of legacy support.

    However, Intel is hardly standing still on their development and will be coming out with some serious competition in 2013 that will start to question ARM’s price and power efficiency advantage. While maintaining Intel’s performance edge.

    Starting with Ice Cream Sandwich Android optimized for x86, Intel plans to start producing their own Smart Phone products.

    So it’s really a question of who can adapt the quickest first. ARM has to learn how to produce more powerful chips and Intel has to learn how to make cheaper and lower power chips.

    Also factor that ARM hardware market is still much more fragmented than Intel’s. Along with Intel’s market momentum that will make it harder for ARM to convince existing Intel customer companies to make the switch.

    So we can’t be assuming too much at this point when the competition is likely to get more intense and previous advantages may not hold.

  3. michael says:

    Actually “ultrabooks” were there 7 years ago, made by Sony and Fujitsu. Nobody really bought them exept for a few very rich business travellers.

    This is just another wave of thin and light devices albeit now being called ultrabooks.I really don’t see it moving too. Well even MSI also came out with their X350 and X340. For all intents and purposes it was an ultrabook. Still no one bought them. So, I guess what is different now (besides the faster processors)?

  4. James says:

    Everything is getting cheaper as they improve the technology, they couldn’t readily make a Ultrabook for $1000 or less before.

    They’re of course still having problems with that price point but for Intel this is a long term plan and starting with Ivy Bridge they are getting the costs down to the point they can start charging less than a $1000 for the base models and still make a profit.

    The difference will be more dramatic once you factor that much of the price complaints is because it’s costing many of these companies a lot to set up Ultrabook productions.

    Asus for example has no prior experience in making Ultra Thin & Light systems.

    It also doesn’t help that Apple has pretty much cornered the market on aluminum lithe machines and is generally better at getting deals for parts. So many of the other companies have to invest in their own machines that will have to be built from scratch and establish their own inventories.

    However, once those investment costs are covered then it breaks down to just parts cost and profit margins. Making it easier for those companies to provide more competitive pricing from then on.

    Along with the decreasing price of Intel chips as they go to smaller manufacturing size and start using SoC designs.

    Ivy Bridge will bring in the lower cost of 22nm vs the existing 32nm production. Along with adding new technologies like their Tri-gate Transistor technology that promises to boost performance while reducing power consumption.

    While Haswell brings all that to a SoC design and further helps reduce cost and improve efficiency.

    Intel is just establishing the market to get the ball rolling and have the infrastructure ready for when their next gen technology kicks in and finally makes Ultrabooks practical.

    Along with an invested interest in establishing a clear distinction between Intel’s higher end offerings and their rapidly evolving interest in the mobile markets. Helps explain Intel’s intended course of action.

  5. Michael says:

    Looks like prices are already dropping as we speak. Not bad really. I think by 1 years time, one can get a good ultrabook for say $600.


  6. Michael says:


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