Get Ready for a Meteoric Rise in Ultrabook Sales

Maybe you have no interest in owning an Ultrabook currently. Perhaps you find them to be too expensive for what they are and think you'll be better served by waiting a generation or two. Certainly you're in the majority, because according to IHS iSuppli, Ultrabooks will only account for 2 percent of all notebook shipments by the end of 2011. Looking longer term, however, Ultrabook sales are about to shoot up.

IHS iSuppli reckons Ultrabooks will account for 13 percent of all notebook shipments in 2012, and then 28 percent in 2013, 38 percent in 2014, and 43 percent in 2014. It's all about looking good, the research firm says.

"To compete with media tablets, notebook PCs must become sexier and more appealing to consumers," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms at IHS. "With media tablets having already reversed the expansion of the previously fast-growing netbook platform, PC makers now are keenly aware that the notebook must evolve to maintain market growth and relevance. Enter the Ultrabook, which borrows some of the form-factor and user-interface advantages of the media tablet to enhance the allure of the venerable notebook."

Just so we're clear, IHS iSuppli says Ultrabooks are defined as notebooks that are super thin and light, measuring less than 0.8 inches thick. They must employ a full OS like Windows and add features commonly found in media tablets, like instant-on activation, always-connected Wi-Fi, SSDs, and greater than 8 hours of battery life. Ideally, Ultrabooks will cost less than $1,000, though that hasn't always been the case up to this point.