Ultrabook PCs to compete with tablets by becoming more tablet-like

PC notebook companies are taking the growing success of tablets seriously. In a bid to counter that momentum, research firm IHS iSuppli predicts Intel, Acer and others will considerably boost their shipments of super-thin ultrabook models over the coming years.

Ultrabook PCs to compete with tablets by becoming more tablet-like

According to IHS, ultrabooks will make up over 40 percent of global PC notebook shipments by 2015. Manufacturer Intel has said it wants to hit that mark next year.

Tablet mimicry is a boon for ultrabook makers, said IHS Principal Analyst Matthew Wilkins.

“To compete with media tablets, notebook PCs must become sexier and more appealing to consumers,” said Wilkins. “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.”

As with any new consumer electronic device, price is a huge factor. Current ultrabook prices approach the $999 mark. In comparison, Apple’s iPad 2 starts at $499, and a 64 GB model is $699. Ultrabook makers need a consumer friendlier price point to take off, explained IHS.

“If an attractive price point can be achieved and the consumer deems this a must-have product, the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain could rapidly reorient itself to serve the fast-growing ultrabook market,” said Len Jelinek, research director and analyst, semiconductor manufacturing at IHS.

Ultrabooks will also face competition from two new low-priced tablets this fall. Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet both cost significantly less than the iPad (and ultrabooks, natch), but offer similar benefits.

Do you own an ultrabook? If not, what’s stopping you? Let us know in the comment section.