updated 10:45 pm EST, Wed January 18, 2012
Acer sees ultrabooks dictating its lineup
Acer chairman JT Wang mentioned late Wednesday that as much as a third of of his company's entire notebook line may be ultrabooks. With Digitimes listening, Wang expected systems like the Aspire S5 and Timeline Ultra to account for 25 to 35 percent of all Acer's notebooks in 2012. The recently unveiled systems would be a foundation of the line and ship in spring, but more models were coming in the summer, the chairman said.
He didn't expect Acer to bounce back in Europe and the US, where it has been bleeding share in the face of the iPad, Macs, and occasional Windows PCs. Developing countries like Brazil, the Philippines, and parts of southeast Asia would make up some of the difference. Winter shipments would drop 10 to 15 percent as part of the usual seasonal slump in this prediction, with later seasosn making up for the difference and bringing Acer's shipments up 10 percent over what's widely regarded as a bleak 2011.
PCs like the S5 are early parts of a transformation at Acer. The company was once the definition of the "race to the bottom" strategy among Windows PC builders, focusing on low prices and market share above all else. Such a mentality backfired after the iPad began eroding Acer's netbook and low-end notebook share while companies like ASUS and Lenovo could outmaneuver it in other areas. Emergency steps to turn around and focus on tablets as well as higher-end notebooks saw it undergo a major reorganization that put phones and tablets at the front while shifting towards higher-quality notebooks.
In the ultrabook space, Acer is still considerably smaller than Apple. The MacBook Air's now four-year head start has both established Apple as the definitive name in the category and could have seen it ship several hundred thousand, if not over a million, Airs in the fall where Acer moved no more than 300,000.