Ultrabook pricing cuts close to cost

By   cnet.com

The latest report on ultrabooks from Asia is the typical mix of odd statements, gossip, and a smattering of speculation that could be categorized as news.

Tuesday’s Digitimes report says, “Acer, Asustek Computer and Toshiba are expected to lower retail prices for ultrabooks to below US$1,000 by the end of 2011.”

Let’s see, we’re well before the end of 2011 and already we have three ultrabooks priced under $1,000.

The HP Folio 13 starts at $899, ditto for the Toshiba Portege Z835 (Model: Z835-P330–which was priced briefly at $799), and the Acer Aspire S3 (Model: S3-951-6646) can be had for as little as $888.

So far, no news.

Then, this statement, which is a real head-scratcher. “Lenovo, Hewlett-Packard, Toshiba and Dell will launch ultrabooks starting mid-November, the sources indicated.”

Today, for those keeping track, is November 29 and two of those companies have already launched. Dell isn’t expected to launch until CES–about a month from now.

But a little more digging does turn up something potentially newsworthy. The report says pricing could fall even further in 2012–possibly between 5 percent and 10 percent. Interesting because it mentions a $100 marketing “subsidy” from Intel. That’s certainly possible. The question I would have is, how did ultrabook makers come out of the chute with $899.99 pricing? Are they doing the loss-leader thing or is there something else going on?

And, alas, some genuine hard data. (Winnowing out the chaff in these reports sometimes takes a few paragraphs.) A 13-inch solid-state drive-equipped ultrabook has a bill-of-materials estimated at US$690. Tack on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) costs of $100 and overall marketing/distribution costs $150, and you have a total of $940 in costs, according to the report.