Ultrabook Prices to Be Cut 10%, Says Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Dying to get your hands on one of those high-powered, extremely portable new ultrabook PCs? You might want to hold off just a little while longer. A new report suggests the price of those handy devices could drop considerably early next year.

Ultrabook: Ultra Light Laptop

An "ultrabook" is a high-powered, lightweight PC. In essence, it's a cross between a netbook and a laptop, but with a lot more computing power than a netbook, and, so far, a much higher price tag.

A typical ultrabook weighs about three pounds, uses an Intel quad-core processor, boasts a 5-8 hour battery life, and frequently lacks any hard drive storage in favor of lighter solid-state drives (SSDs). Ultrabooks like this tend to retail for between $900 and $1,000 in U.S. stores or online.

High Prices Keeping Ultrabook Sales Down

Given their portability and power, it's no surprise that ultrabooks have aroused quite a lot of fanfare in recent months. Unfortunately, the high price isn't very attractive to consumers, which may explain why critics suggest a price cut will be coming soon.

Reports suggest that ultrabook manufacturers are set to lower prices by as much as 5 to 10 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

Tech blog Digitimes cites Taiwanese suppliers of ultrabook components in its report, and predicts the expected price drop will cut the cost of ultrabooks considerably, perhaps from the $900 - $1,000 range down to $800 - $900. (Source: tested.com)

Acer Plans for $499 Ultrabooks by 2013

Digitimes isn't alone in making such a bold prediction.

Acer, which sells its own ultrabook, has said that ultrabook prices will be in that same lower range next year. Beyond that, Acer has predicted the cost of ultrabooks could trend downwards over the next few years, to the neighborhood of $500 by 2013. (Source: forbes.com)

Of course, cutting the price of ultrabooks that much will require manufacturers to utilize much cheaper components in the future. According to Digitimes, right now a 13-inch Ultrabook with an SSD costs $690 in parts, with an additional $250 going toward marketing, distribution and other expenditures.

In total, that means a 13-inch ultrabook costs manufacturers about $940 to build and sell.

If true, it's likely that profit margins in this market are shockingly small. If ultrabook makers get the price even lower by cutting too many corners and producing sub-par products, the promising ultrabook market may never really get off the ground.

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