Acer chairman JT Wang claims tablet fever is already starting to cool down and that consumers are being attracted by notebooks again, especially with the upcoming launch of ultrabooks and Windows 8.
Acer is already set to launch an Ultrabook in September with a price as low as US$799, noted Wang adding that Acer has performed surveys and discovered that consumers have a high interest in Ultrabooks.
Some players in the PC industry agree with Wang's prediction and pointed out that tablet PCs are mainly marketed for entertainment purposes, different from notebooks, which are also tools for work and learning. Therefore, once the tablet PC market reaches saturation, consumers' motivation to replace tablet PCs will be a lot lower than for notebooks, causing tablet PC sales to stagnate once volumes reach a certain level.
In addition to Acer and Asustek Computer, which plan to launch Ultrabooks in September, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are all set to launch models in the fourth quarter of 2011 or the first quarter of 2012. Taiwan-based makers of components such as batteries, hinges and chassis have also started small volume pilot production, and are set to start mass shipments in the fourth quarter.
Acer president Jim Wong pointed out that although Ultrabooks will only account for a small portion of notebook shipments in 2011, the percentage is expected to reach 25-35% in 2012, a number close to Intel's prediction of 40% by the end of 2012.
As for Windows 8, Wang believes that the operating system will contribute a stronger sales boost to notebooks than tablet PCs and will also benefit brand vendors during the back-to-school season in 2012 as the operating system's launch date will be close to that period.