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Ultrabooks are big news at the moment. The ultra-thin, high-performance computing devices were among the stars of the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The latest research from Juniper Research, a firm that specialises in tech analysis, suggests that it’s not just hype either.
According to the firm “shipments of Ultrabooks will grow at three times the rate of tablets over the next five years”. This does not, however, mean that ultrabooks are set to overtake tablets as the next must-have computing device.
Juniper Research reckons that the highly portable touch screen devices will still ship in much higher volumes. There will 253-million tablets shipped in 2016, it says, “compared with 178-million ultrabooks”.
The report indicates that the lower volumes of ultrabooks, may in fact be down to the industry’s slow response to 2008’s Macbook air. Leading manufacturers “only launched the first Ultrabooks — a new category in mobile computing driven by the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer, Intel — in late 2011”, it says.
This in sharp contrast to the explosion in the tablet market as tech power houses such as Samsung and Sony brought out their own responses to Apple’s iPad. Even these tech giants have, however, battled to gain traction when their products failed to significantly differentiate themselves from or improve upon Apple’s. There’s a very good reason the iPad 2 was the top-selling tablet of 2011.
Ultrabooks also present their own unique set of problems, says Juniper Research. According to the report’s author Daniel Ashdown: “While Intel’s control of the brand ensures that Ultrabooks stand out from traditional notebooks, vendors face a balancing act in terms of product strategy. Meeting Intel’s specification secures brand status and funding, but the step-change from notebooks means many of today’s Ultrabooks are too expensive for many consumers.”