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PC vendors are expected to offer more entry-level ultrabooks or ultra-like models for sale at US$699 or less in a bid to generate better shipment volumes, according to Taiwan newswire DigiTimes.This follows disappointing estimates for current ultrabook sales reported by research firm IHS iSuppli yesterday. The US researcher slashed its 2012 global forecast of ultrabook sales by more 50 percent, from 22 million to 10.3 million, blaming the situation on the “unattractive” pricing of most ultrabooks at US$1000 or more.

Taiwan-based Topology Research Institute – quoted by DigiTimes – takes a slightly more optimistic view of the ultrabook market.

It has predicted global sales of 16.7 million in 2012, accounting for an estimated 8 percent of all notebooks sold. And it reckons sales will increase to 31.6 million units in 2013, accounting for 14.6 percent of total notebook sales.

Despite the swing to lower-priced models, makers will continue to offer high-end ultrabooks at more than US$1000 in a bid to maintain profitability, Taiwan-based supply chain makers told DigiTimes.

The high-end models will feature an aluminum unibody or carbon-fibre chassis, SSD memory, Li polymer batteries and Windows 8 compatible touch screens, the sources indicated.

The under-$699 lines will have fibreglass-reinforced plastic or metal-plastic hybrid chassis, slim HDDs or HDD/SSD hybrid drives, conventional batteries and non-touch screens.

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