There may be whispers in Taiwan about disappointing ultrabook sales, but IHS iSuppli expects the ultrabook category is poised for greatness. At least, the research firm has crunched the numbers, and it says ultrabooks will make up an impressive 43% of the notebook market at large in 2015, up from just 1.8% this year.
Ultrabooks will reportedly grow from that teeny 1.8% to a more respectable 13% share of the notebook market next year, then swell on to a 28% share in 2013 and 37% in 2014. That would make for some pretty rapid growth, but IHS iSuppli says the notebook market "is embracing the new ultrabook platform in a big way." The research firm believes ultrabooks will help keep notebook sales afloat in the face of ever-more-popular tablets, as well:
"To compete with media tablets, notebook PCs must become sexier and more appealing to consumers," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms at IHS. "With media tablets having already reversed the expansion of the previously fast-growing netbook platform, PC makers now are keenly aware that the notebook must evolve to maintain market growth and relevance. Enter the ultrabook, which borrows some of the form-factor and user-interface advantages of the media tablet to enhance the allure of the venerable notebook."
As the company points out, future ultrabooks will soup up the existing thin, light, and responsive formula with touch screens. We've also heard talk about next year's Ivy Bridge-powered ultrabooks costing as little as $600. At such low prices, the systems could prove awfully compelling—especially in the face of $400-500 tablets that lack physical keyboards and serious productivity software. I'm sure folks will still favor tablets for lounging around on the couch and playing Fruit Ninja, though.