With Intel predicting that the Ultrabook market is set to hit 40% of all notebooks sold by 2012 and with Acer admitting that their sleek new Aspire S3 could drop in price to sub $1,000, the traditional “bulky” notebook market appears to be facing an enemy from within.
At the launch today of the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook, which is 13mm thick and weighs just 1.35kg, Acer executives admitted that it will be hard for some people to choose a “traditional” notebook design after seeing the Aspire.
Intel Marketing Director Kate Burleigh said that the notebook marketing is changing for the “better”. She said that by 2012, Intel is predicting significant volumes of Ultrabooks will use their new Sandy Bridge processors, which allow brands like Toshiba and Acer to design wafer thin Ultrabook’s that have longer battery life than traditional notebooks.
Burleigh said “Ultrabook’s are here to stay. We are predicting that they will make up 40% of the notebook market by 2012”.
Recently several manufacturers including Acer asked for a 50 per cent discount on the processors being used for Ultrabooks, but the request was denied. However, analysts are predicting that the price will drop after Christmas as vendors ramp up manufacturing. Acer General Manager of Product Marketing Nigel Gore agreed with this claim saying that currently the new Acer Aspire S3 range would retail for between $1,199 and $1,999, depending on the specifications.
“Like all technology products the price will come down” he said. He refused to say when the price would hit sub $900 in Australia.
Currently Intel is giving a 20 percent discount to tier-one notebook makers on Ultrabook CPUs, according to DigiTimes reports, but most manufacturers (including Acer) are only stocking 50,000 Ultrabooks each during the upcoming Christmas period. Ultrabooks are an upcoming fad, with various companies looking for a more competitive alternative to the current iPad tablet and Macbook Air phenomenon offered by Apple.
When asked what would encourage a tablet customer to jump ship and buy an Ultrabook, Gore noted the tablet’s inability to effectively create:
“It can be used for creation requirements. You cannot create and edit Word or PowerPoint documents on a tablet device, such as you can do on a notebook. And with an Ultrabook you get speedier response and longer battery life. ”
The possibility of producing high end computing in a super thin frame has been credited to Intel for their CPU and chipsets, allowing for a concentrated build, efficient energy consumption and the manageable dissipation of heat.
Acer’s Aspire S3 will be powered by the range of 2nd Generation Intel Core processors, including the i3, i5 and i7, will offer 240GB SSD or 320GB HDD and feature a 13 inch HD LED screen. There’s also an in built 1.3 megapixel camera with microphone, a full sized HDMI output, a 3.5mm auxiliary, SD card slot, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0+HSR technology.
The tech gear is encased in an aluminium and magnesium chassis that has a fingerprint free metal finish. It does bear a slight resemblance to Apple’s MacBook Air, which should cause concern since Apple is patent happy.
With impressive specs the Aspire S3 is exquisitely designed, delivering high end computing in an ultraportable body. Its $1199 introductory price is competitive, and Acer say it will go on sale in October, with the 12th being cited as an unofficial date.