Acer blames HP and Dell for poor sales of CULV notebooks

Mainstream notebooks are too cheap in the US

ACER’S CHAIRMAN, JT Wang has come up with a simple reason as to why Acer’s sales of CULV thin and light notebooks have been so poor – it’s all the fault of Dell and HP, because they’re selling mainstream notebooks far too cheaply in the US market. Talk about playing the blame game.

Now there might be something in what he’s saying, but it’s not quite that simple. While Intel has been pushing the CULV platform in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, there hasn’t been quite as much importance placed on the platform in the US. The notebook market has always been a bit different in the US compared with the rest of the world, as many users like large 17-inch plus screens on notebooks in the US market, something that isn’t quite as popular outside of the US.

With HP and Dell selling 15-inch screen models for as little as $399, it’s hard to compete on price and features with a CULV machine that is generally slower, has a smaller screen and often fewer features. However, a CULV notebook also weighs considerably less and offers far superior battery life in most cases. This is an appealing type of machine in countries where people travel by public transport, but as most people in the US rely on their cars, having a light notebook isn’t quite as important.

According to the same story on Digitimes, Intel is looking at pushing mainstream notebooks during 2010, based on its Core i3 and Core i5 mobile platforms. These CPUs have graphics integrated into the chip package, which means a more advanced CPU cooling solution is required, which in turn prevents these CPUs from ending up in ultra thin notebooks. Intel is planning low voltage versions of these CPUs, but these are unlikely to be available from day one.

Acer intends to court Intel and urge it to reconsider its plans for 2010. Acer is quite fond of the CULV form factor and hopes to continue to produce CULV notebooks that are more price competitive than its current models. These new, cheaper models are expected to hit retail in March or April of next year and Wang expects the ultra-thin notebook segment to take about 30 percent of the total notebook market by next year. He also expects that 30 percent of Acers total notebook shipments in 2010 will be CULV notebooks.

During the recent IT Month consumer retail show in Taipei, about 50 percent of Acer’s notebook sales came from ultra-thin models and Wang suggested that this is a good indication of the strong consumer demand for these types of devices. The CULV platform is still in its infancy and we hope Intel will continue to build on a platform that has great potential. Intel’s recent CPU refresh has brought along several new dual core processors and this seems to have piqued many consumers interest for ultra-thin notebooks. The smaller 11.6-inch and 12-inch screen models are very likely to compete against premium netbooks, as the price difference is already quite small between the two.S|A

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