Acer joins race for low-priced Ultrabooks
Taiwan-based computer maker Acer is planning to join the race to make lower-priced thin-and-light "Ultrabook" laptops in the third quarter of 2012.
Acer president Jim Wong said this is in response to competition from lower-priced models, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.
"We'll adjust our prices based on how our competitors attack first, but we will also stress user experiences in our products ... I think US$699-US$799 will become a mainstream price segment in our Ultrabook lines, which we expect to launch in the third quarter of this year," Wong said.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, China-based Lenovo unveiled 13.3-inch and 14-inch Ultrabooks.
Lenovo's Ultrabooks are expected to hit stores in May with price tags starting at US$699, similar to mainstream notebook prices.
On the other hand, Acer's first Ultrabook, the Aspire S3, entered the market in September 2011 at a price of over US$1,000, higher than the price of a regular notebook.
"It's inevitable in the industry that every company needs to take measures to respond to rivals' pricing strategies," Wong said.
During the CES, Acer also unveiled the world's thinnest Ultrabook, the Aspire S5, but analysts predicted the model will start at between US$1,000 and US$1,300 when it goes on sale in the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Wong said Acer hopes to maintain its 45-percent share of the global market, the same level as last year.
He added Acer will retain its netbook business due to the overall market scale of 20 million units per year, indicating strong demand for simplified portable computers.
Acer said netbooks accounted for 18 to 20 percent of its total notebook shipments for the first three quarters of 2011, higher than the industry average of between 11 and 12 percent.
Wong also predicted that Acer's smartphone shipments will increase 40 percent from last year to exceed one million units in 2012, while desktop computers will grow 10 percent year-on-year from 8 million units in 2011. — TJD, GMA News