Super-light laptops, such as ultrabooks, will become the next growth engine for notebook computers this year, according to a Taipei-based research firm.
WitsView, the panel research division of market intelligence provider TrendForce Corp (集邦科技), forecast recently that notebook shipments will reach 213.5 million units this year, up 9.4 percent from 195.1 million units last year.
Regular notebooks will increase 13.3 percent year-on-year from 172.8 million units last year to 195 million units this year, while netbook shipments will dip 17 percent from 22.3 million units to 18.5 million units during the same -period, WitsView said.
Overall shipment growth will be driven mainly by Intel Corp’s new ultrabook platform “Ivy Bridge,” which is expected to be launched in the second quarter of the year, as well as the roll-out of Microsoft Corp’s Windows 8 operating system in the second half, WitsView said.
The research firm predicted that ultrabooks would account for about 10 percent of all notebook shipments this year, after accounting for less than 5 percent of total shipments last year.
In addition to Ultrabooks, many PC brands also plan to launch 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.
In October, Taiwanese PC maker Acer Inc (宏碁) said it planned to ship between 250,000 and 300,000 units of its Aspire S3 super-thin laptops in the fourth quarter.
Acer said it expected the Ultrabook line to account for between 25 percent and 35 percent of the company’s total notebook shipments this year.
Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦) said last month that it expected shipments of its Ultrabook model, dubbed the “Zenbook,” to hit the company’s fourth quarter target of 300,000 units.
The company hopes to build on the growing popularity of Ultrabooks to increase shipments of notebook computers by 22 percent this year.