HP Plans 5-7 Ultrabook Models, Intel Predicts 30 Million Sales

If there was any doubt as to the companies' ambitions, there isn't anymore

New reports have arisen in regard to the ultrabook market and what Intel, as well as its OEMs, expect from this market segment this year.

What we are looking at is the newest shipment levels estimate for 2012, as well as the plans of Hewlett-Packard (HP).

We'll talk about the latter first, and then expand on the matter.

HP will release between five and seven ultrabook designs in the second half of the current year.

That means that, while it still has every intention of launching ultrabooks this month (April), the real show will come later.

For the whole year, HP means to ship 3.5 to 5.5 million units, just short of Acer's 4.5-6 million.

Looking at all this, it isn't so hard to understand why Intel expects 2012 to finish with 20-30 million ultrabook shipments. The level of sales is expected to double or even triple in 2013.

Not only will second-generation versions appear this month and the next, but hybrid models will become increasingly widespread as well.

To give an example, Intel has recently showed off a version equipped with an unusual slider mechanism, during IDF 2012.

Nevertheless, only in the fourth quarter (October-December) will this variety of ultrathin machines take off. Windows 8 won't be out before then after all.

Moving on, Intel and its partners will have to use plastic cases instead of aluminum, to reduce prices, so they will be cooperating with manufacturers in this matter. Ultrathin optical disk drives will also grow in relevance over this year and the next.

It is clear that the industry is trying to treat ultrabooks like the second coming of netbooks. Just two years ago, and even early last year, it was believed that those small, cheap machines would keep growing in sales for years. Alas, tablets made short work of those forecasts, so IT players had to come up with something else.

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