Why ultrabooks were a flop in 2011?

Why ultrabooks were a flop in 2011?

From the informal discussions with a few dealers and distributors, MB Technews Editor @artsamaniego shares that the biggest flop in the PC industry for 2011 were ultrabooks. It must have been a classic case of overhyped and underperformed — and we wonder why.

I was surprised as well about this insider info considering the ultrabooks that we saw in 2011 were already impressive both in hardware and design. Still I wondered why they didn’t sell well in the Philippines (could have been a different scenario in other countries).

We offer several possible reasons:


1) Ultrabooks are expensive. Price could have single-handedly caused this. The median price for ultrabooks in 2011 was around Php50,000. The market for laptops in those price range is relatively small.

2) The Macbook Air Distortion Field. The Macbook Air has been around for 4 years. Ultrabooks have only been around for under a year. I guess people will always take the MBA into consideration every time they look at ultrabooks.

3) The ultra-hype. Before the era of ultrabooks, we saw a whole generation of ultra-portables. They also promised portability, processing power and long battery life.

Maybe in 2012, with all those dozens and dozens of new ultrabooks coming into the market (Intel promised no less than 75 models) we will see the price point become more rationalized and be more affordable.

Here’s my suggestion to manufacturers — give us an 11.6″ ultrabook, running a Core i3 with 4GB RAM and 64GB of SSD for around Php30k and maybe we’ll see more takers.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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32 Responses

  1. Iyan Sommerset says:

    Not enough rich people.

    • simplynice93 says:

      I disagree. Rich people would rather buy Apple Macbook/iPad than getting clones from other brands. Ultrabook manufacturers should target the working class since they are most likely to buy their products.

    • daniel says:

      agree! mahal mahal masyado di naman superior kesa sa ibang laptop… weight lng talaga nagkatalo. pero Macbook? wala ako alam sa mga mac.. pati keyboard iba hahaha

  2. perci says:

    Pinoys are waiting for the prices to go down,and most techblogs say they will in 2012.

  3. ajcalderonmd says:

    because they are not readily available in stores, at mismong mga sales rep e di alam ang ultrabook, i asked stores nung december e octagon lang sa megamall ang me tinda ng acer, sa iba e pag nag inquire ako nakatingin lang puro netbook ang pinapakita, its a good thing na maayos ang reviews dito kaya di nga kelangan magtanoing sa mga sales rep

  4. RedSimba says:

    Attracted with design but disappointed with price

  5. ogago says:

    I’d buy one if it’s just around 30k..

  6. quick brown fox says:

    Even the highly acclaimed HP dm1 11.6″ with E450 is priced at around 22k as a budget buy, selling a classy ultrabook with an SSD at 30k is nigh impossible.

  7. Ligrev says:

    Yuga, if I may add:

    4) The netbook stigma/trauma. People were so disappointed with the netbooks and felt that ultrabooks might follow suit.


  8. Ryan Ang says:

    In my opinion, there has been a big question of who the target market really is for the ultrabook segment (here in the Philippines anyway), and is the market available to buy the machines.

    Mass market adaption of the ultrabooks will be hard since most laptop buyers are more on the 30-40k range. 50k and above buyers rarely get middle to low spec’d machines and go for the high end stuff.

    Siguro tingin din nila ultrabooks are nice and thin but brittle and fragile.

  9. jonski22 says:

    everybody is looking for those 12″ to 13″ inch screen, core i3 or i5, 2gb or 4gb RAM, and SSD HDD , long battery life and ultra-light and ultra-fast…..but this thing are f****ing expensive!!!..SSD is expensive so i doubt they will lower the price…

  10. dj0502 says:

    aside from the price, it’s mainly because there’s not much option in 2011.

    and if somebody would just use a proper version of windows 7, you can forget all the horrors from XP.

  11. Ric says:

    The market wasn’t ready yet. You have to be really into tech to know what ultrabooks are. Plus the first ones that came out seem to miss a feature or two.

    Dell and HP were smart enough to wait. The Folio and XPS 13 may succeed where the others have failed. Though I don’t know what Dell was thinking for not including a media card reader.

  12. Noir says:

    Yuga Price most definitely is the main factor. along with the Mac Air.

    Why dont you check AMD’s ultrathin’s line up which is supposed to be around $500

  13. roiji says:

    i definitely agree with your suggestion.

  14. Iyan Sommerset says:

    I also think the form-factor hurts the genre in the country. Thin usually means “fragile” no matter if they are made of magnesium or aluminum or Kevlar or whatever. In a country where more people commute to school/work in buses, jeeps, FXes and trains, the seeming fragility might also be an issue.

  15. hmmm says:

    hmmm. Isang lang masasabi ko diyan. GRAPHICS CARD…imo. Sa tingin ko karamihan sa mga pinoy na gustong bumili ay hindi tech noob at gustong magkaroon ng all-in-one na ultraportable laptop. Kya lang mahina talaga graphics card nila. Kaya nag ipad na lang. wahahaha.

  16. Jerome says:

    Aside from the price, they have irreplaceable battery. I’m O-C with extra batteries since I use an ultraportable regularly in school.

  17. dude says:

    It’s all about price. Sony had ultra portables even before the mba. The problem then was the same as now. The price! The reason people buy MBA is because people with money will buy anything apple tells them to buy regardless of specs and price. Ultrabooks will also fail because windows 8 is coming with touch screen support making most windows machines now undesirable.

  18. Tigrrr says:


    wala pong graphics card ang mga portables. :)

  19. Leslie says:

    It is a matter of price and availability. The current price of the ultrabooks are at least P45,000 for the Acer S3, while the rest are north of P50,000.

    For the same spec, you can buy a branded notebook PC in the P30k-P40k price range. It might be thicker and heavier but most people will give up the thin and light features if the savings is big enough (which it is).

    BTW, I was recently in Hong Kong and checked the price of the Acer S3 there. The i5 version was selling for an equivalent of P38,000. I wonder if Acer S3 would sell at that price in Manila, would be a better seller?

  20. Nico says:

    Not really a flop since the ones that came out last year were basically ‘early adopter’ models, hence the steep price tag. Intel does predict that ultrabook prices will go as low as $400-500 due to stiff competition and cheaper raw materials. Acer says the S3 could go that cheap in a few months, according to Engadget(?)

  21. tc27 says:

    i think it’s because of the rise of the tablets!

  22. Salman says:

    Main reason behind this is that these ultra books are expensive..

  23. fireice2 says:

    I’m happy with my ultrabook. I might be using a traditional HDD for the moment but when prices of SSD’s will go down, I would be considering an upgrade. :)

  24. Lani Garcia says:

    PRICE was the biggest factor.

    Why would anyone want to buy a plastic looking S3 at 45K when the entry level MBA is also at the same price? If it was way lower, people would have considered.

    This year, if Lenovo prices the U310 and U410 affordably, they might be able to penetrate the Philippine market.

    As of the moment, people are still into netbooks and other AMD portables. The best sellers are still the Atom netbooks. At a 10K-12K price point, most filipinos would opt for those machines.

    To be honest, filipinos don’t have the cash to spend on these high end gadgets. Look at the cybercafes jampacked with people who are either playing, doing Facebook, or even blogging in there.

  25. because they are not readily available in stores, at mismong mga sales rep e di alam ang ultrabook, i asked stores nung december e octagon lang sa megamall ang me tinda ng acer, sa iba e pag nag inquire ako nakatingin lang puro netbook ang pinapakita, its a good thing na maayos ang reviews dito kaya di nga kelangan magtanoing sa mga sales

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  27. Umair says:

    According to me they have very high prices but not good enough like other brands like apple mac book etc. You guys can visit us for laptop table

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