CES 2012: Intel takes ultrabooks further down the tablet path, says IHS

Intel Corp. at CES on Monday demonstrated a prototype ultrabook dubbed Nikiski that features a transparent touch pad panel allowing tablet-style operation.  The advent of the Nikiski represents the first wave of what promises to be a deluge of tablet-style ultrabooks designed to stave off the inroads of Apple Inc.’s iPad and other competing devices. 

Ultrabooks represent the fastest-growing segment of the global PC market. IHS predicts global ultrabook shipments will soar to 29 million units in 2012, up from less than 1 million in 2011. By 2015, shipments will soar to 136 million and will represent 43 percent of global notebook PC shipments, up from 2 percent in 2011 and 13 percent in 2012.

The Nikiski and similar hybrid products will help the PC market fight back against the media tablet onslaught,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms research at IHS. “Consumers clearly love the convenience and ease of use of the tablet. So to offer a very thin-form-factor device that can be used as a tablet as well as a notebook represents a much more competitive proposition for PC makers. With tablets eroding the growth of the notebook market, these types of devices are an issue of critical importance to the PC industry.  Intel at CES commented that enabling exciting convertible and hybrid products like the Nikiski is job 1 for the company, showing how important tablet-style ultrabooks are to its future growth.”

PC tablets like the Nikiski represent a rapidly expanding opportunity for computer makers. Using slate or convertible/hybrid form factors, PC tablets incorporate a full PC operating system such as Windows 7, Linux, or Mac OS. This contrasts with media tablets such as the iPad or Galaxy Tab from Samsung Electronics Co., which typically are slate-style devices that utilize a mobile operating system and employ a touch screen as the primary interface.  Global shipments of PC-type tablets are set to rise by a factor of 15 in the coming years, reaching 45 million units by 2015, up from 3.1 million in 2011.

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