Acer President Jim Wong said the company plans to release an "ultrabook" this year, joining Asus as the first vendors to commit to systems based on Intel's vision of an ultra-thin notebook with tablet features.
Acer looks to
be the second PC maker to sign onto Intel's "ultrabook" vision, which was unveiled at the Computex 2011 show May 31.
Jim Wong reportedly said in a statement from the show June 1 that "the
ultrabook can help revive the notebook market," which continues to see solid
growth in the commercial space but is suffering from slower consumer sales due
to several factors, including the rise of tablets and last year's release of
Microsoft's Windows 7 OS.
appointed president after Gianfranco
Lanci resigned as president and CEO in March following a dispute with the
company's board of directors, did not give any details about the Acer
ultrabook, though he did reiterate his focus on the mobile-device market,
including tablets and smartphones.
Vice President Sean Maloney during his keynote introduced the company's vision
of the ultrabook, which he described as an Intel-powered ultra-thin notebook
with tablet-like features, including responsiveness. An Intel spokesperson said
touch-screen capabilities likely would come later.
described an ultrabook as a system less than 20mm thick and costing less than
$1,000. Intel executives see a rapid adoption of the form factor, with
ultrabooks accounting for 40 percent of the notebook market by the end of 2012.
The first of
the ultrabooks-including Acer's and rival Asus' UX21, which Chairman Jonney
Shih brought on stage with Maloney-are expected to arrive in time for the
holiday shopping season and be powered by Intel's newest Core processors.
statement, Shih said that Asus' "customers are demanding an uncompromised
computing experience in a lightweight, highly portable design that responds quickly
to their needs. Transforming the PC into an ultra-thin, ultra-responsive device
will change the way people interact with their PC."
PC sales have
slipped in recent quarters, particularly on the consumer side. Research firm
IHS iSuppli said May 24 that worldwide PC sales slipped 0.3 percent in the
first quarter, a quarter after hitting record sales. Analysts are debating
the cause of the slippage, with several pointing to the rapid growth of
tablets since Apple introduced the iPad last year. Others have said that after
the buying spree following the release last year of Windows 7, consumers are in
no hurry to spend more money on PCs.
The drop has
hit such vendors as Acer and Hewlett-Packard hard. Dell also saw consumer PC
sales wane, though much of that was offset by its strength in the commercial
space. Acer over the past several quarters has been challenging Dell for the
second spot among worldwide PC vendors behind HP, and was helped two years ago
when netbooks were popular.
was slow to respond to tablets, an issue that played a role in Lanci's
resignation. Wong reportedly has shifted more of the company's efforts behind
mobile computing, with expectations that tablets and smartphones will account
for 15 percent of its revenue in 2013 and a third by 2015.
Acer's struggles do not mean the company expects to move away from the PC as
the centerpiece of its efforts.
computer remains the core of our business," J.T. Wang, the company's chairman
and acting CEO, said at the time of Lanci's resignation. "We have built up a
strong foundation and will continue to expand within, especially in the
commercial PC segment. In addition, we are stepping into the new mobile-device
market, where we will invest cautiously and aim to become one of the leading