If Intel's Ultrabook does not work, the industry is jonesed

Having discovered that tablets are mostly an Apple thing, the technology manufacturing industry is betting the farm on Intel’s new ultrabook plans.

Chipzilla has been using its considerable muscle to line up all the OEMs behind its ultrabook idea and we expect to see hundreds of them at CES.

Taipei-based research firm WitsView, told the Taipei Times  that 2012’s notebook sales will be driven by the success of the Ultrabook.

Fortunately, it thinks that everyone will rush to buy them as it thinks notebook shipments will reach 213.5 million units this year, up 9.4 percent from 195.1 million units last year.

It said that when Ivy Bridge is launched in the second quarter of the year, with the roll-out of Windows 8, the whole of the industry will go mad again..

The research outfit thinks that Ultrabooks will make up 10 percent of all notebook shipments this year, after accounting for less than five percent of total shipments last year.

Meanwhile there will be laptops that are slimmed down to between 22mm and 25mm thick, which will further speed up the adoption of such lightweight products in the notebook market, WitsView said.

Acer has announced that it will sell between 250,000 and 300,000 s Aspire S3 super-thin laptops in the fourth quarter of 2012 with its Ultrabook line to account for between 25 percent and 35 percent of the company’s total notebook shipments.

Asustek expected shipments of its Ultrabook model, dubbed the “Zenbook,” to hit the company’s fourth quarter target of 300,000 units.

But what no one appears to be saying is that it is a huge roll of the dice by the OEMS by banking on Intel’s vision of the future. They already spent most of 2011 wasting time trying to copy Steve Jobs’ vision of the tablet and produced overpriced gadgets that no-one wanted. Rather than being the “game changer” for the technology industry, tablets proved to be an Apple iPod with no one outside Jobs’ Mob being able to make significant cash of the top end of the market. Only Amazon, by using its access to content and a cut-price subsidised tablet managed to do as well.

The Ultrabook is a concept developed by Apple with its Air product. It has not been the best seller in Apple’s stable either. While most people can understand that a computer with a keyboard is much better than one without, it is still a lot of money to bet at a time when the industry is in recession.

Generally punters are not sure about the future of the European economy and they might just wait before they make a technology purchase. Companies are in a similar place with many budgets being on hold until everyone knows which way the economy is going.

Either way it is not a good time to bet that something new is going to steal Apple’s sunshine.