Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 12 News List

FEATURE : ULV technology figures prominently at Computex

BUTTERFLIES: Slim, energy-efficient notebooks took center stage at the trade show. Shipments are expected to reach between 8 million and 10 million units this year

By Elizabeth Tchii and Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thanks to Intel Corp’s ultra-­voltage (ULV) technology, notebook computers that are thin, lightweight and energy-efficient have prevailed at the just-closed Computex trade show in Taipei.

Abundant at the show were also ULV models that can support wireless transmission by using worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMAX) or wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology.

With the support of major Taiwanese PC makers like Acer Inc (宏碁), Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), Gigabyte Technology Co (技嘉) and ­Micro-Star International Co’s (微星), Intel was seen as aggressively promoting the ULV platform last week.

But DRAMeXchange Technology Inc (集邦科技) said the US chip giant’s move was aimed at protecting its profitability in the traditional notebook market against erosion from the hot-­selling netbooks, which were arguably made possible by Intel’s own Atom processors.

“Thin, lightweight models and long battery life should be the main focuses for the notebook industry in 2009,” Citigroup analyst Eve Jung (戎宜蘋) said last week.

She said that ULV models still had constraints to overcome if computer makers wanted to see stable revenue growth in the coming months.

Sean Maloney, Intel’s executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, set the tone for anticipated success in ULV notebooks during his opening speech at Computex on Tuesday, the same day the company introduced its latest ULV Core 2 Duo processors in Taipei.

“Enabled by ULV Core 2 Duo processors ... ULV notebook users are able to travel light, enjoy quality multimedia performance, as well as over seven hours of battery life at mainstream prices as low as US$499,” Maloney said.

He said ULV laptops would make up a major portion of the company’s sales volume as well as the entire global PC food chain.

Taipei-based market researcher DRAMeXchange said on May 13 the shipments of ULV notebooks would be between 8 million and 10 million units worldwide this year, accounting for between 7 percent and 9 percent of the traditional notebook market share.

Visitors to this year’s Computex could easily see the notebook market’s trend toward slim, light design and energy conservation.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also had a chance to see the trends during a surprise visit to the Nangang exhibition hall on the last day of Computex on Saturday. He examined Micro-Star’s three ULV notebooks in its X-Slim series.

Asustek was aggressive in this segment as well, introducing five models of ULV notebooks during the show. The company said the products’ designers gained inspiration from the lightness of butterflies, although the machines still looked industrial due to their metal alloy casings.

Acer, which followed Asustek in launching netbooks two years ago, was among the first to introduce ULV notebooks this time. The company first unveiled its Aspire TimeLine ULV series in April, before introducing a full product line on May 21 with seven models with 13.3-inch, 14-inch and 15.6-inch screens.

“The ULV laptops will carve out a niche in the market but at the expense of desk-top PCs, not necessarily netbooks or traditional laptops,” Scott Lin (林顯郎), president of Acer’s Taiwan operations, said at the launch.

Acer forecast ULV notebooks would make up 20 percent of the global laptop market next year, with netbooks and traditional notebooks accounting for 20 percent and 60 percent respectively.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top