Ultrabooks to remain on fringe until 2015

It looks like Intel may be waiting a while before its Ultrabooks break the magic 40 percent market share barrier, according to analyst predictions.  In fact it could be a full three years.

Intel’s Mooly Eden had shouted loud about hitting 40 percent market share in 2012 for Intel’s new ultrathin laptops at the Intel Developer Forum

Whether this number was plucked from the ether to cajole manufacturers into buying into Intel’s dream of the future of the laptop is unclear, but some corners believe he’s well wide of the mark.  In fact, the dark rumour mill suggests Intel has been struggling to get partners onboard.

According to IHS figures, the actual time it will be 2015 before Intel manages to reach 43 percent.  This means a three whole years of thumb twiddling and excuse making as shipment figures catch up with Intel’s lofty expectations.

Of course Intel was never likely to undersell the Ultrabook to prospective partners and to the public.  By 2013, Intel had forecast that its 40 percent share would transform into 60 percent, moving towards true dominance in the notebook market with the release of the Haswell chip.

However this reads very differently to IHS’ predictions.  In its launch year, with many firms struggling to limbo under the promised $1,000 price barrier, Ultrabooks are accounting for two percent of the notebook market.

In 2012, with a full year of releases under its belt, the Ultrabook is expected to fall far short of Intel’s expectations, reaching 13 percent.  The rise will continue into 2013, which will see 28 percent penetration, before 38 percent in 2014.  Only in 2015 will Intel hit the magic 40 percent mark.

While Intel’s venture may take longer to get off the ground than expected, IHS analysts reckon that it will have a profound effect on the electronics industry.

Analyst Len Jelinek thinks there will be some changes afoot in the industry. It will depend on reaching a low enough price point, aided by Intel’s $300 million Ultrabook war chest.   Until manufacturers can get closer to tablet prices, which Ultrabooks appear to be targeting head on, then it will be a struggle.

But if Ultrabooks are to take hold then there could be good news throughout the supply chain, potentially even bringing an end to a slowdown in the semi industry.

According to Jelinek, a comprehensive bill of materials for the Ultrabook requires throwing work at firms specialising in memory, logic and power management, as well as electronics contract manufacturers and battery suppliers.

One area which would see a particular boost to business would be the flash memory sector, with nearly all Ultrabooks relying on solid state drives, while DRAM gently weeps.