May 3, 2012
Small to medium-size businesses (SMBs) are looking to electronic retail and office products stores to obtain Ultrabooks, high-performance, and compact Intel-branded notebooks, according to a report from IT market research firm Techaisle.
The report found 21 percent of Ultrabooks purchased by midmarket companies were bought in big box retail stores such as Best Buy, in part because the purchasers could actually handle the product before plunking down the cash. Because Ultrabooks are touted as lightweight and highly portable, the ability to handle the merchandise gives retail channels have an advantage over online channels, where the greatest advantage is often a lower price.
According to the survey, business buyers shelling out for an Ultrabook as an “addition” have a higher installed base of desktops than buyers looking to replace a desktop. Small businesses planning to use Ultrabooks as replacements have a higher percentage of employees that are mobile and prefer different features.
Among early adopters, manufacturing businesses are using Ultrabooks as IT additions, while financial services firms are using them as replacements.
Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) is making a huge bet on Ultrabooks, which compete directly with Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) super-thin MacBook Air. The company has devoted hundreds of millions of dollars in research and advertising support to push the notebooks, which are made by a variety of OEMs including Acer, Dell (NASDAQ: DELL), Lenovo (NASDAQ: LNVGY) and HP (NYSE: HPQ).
But as the market becomes more crowded with Ultrabook models, resellers serving the SMB space would do well to steer clear of Ultrabooks designed for the consumer space and instead focus their efforts on those built for business. The VAR Guy put it eloquently: “Those Consumer Ultrabooks are not easy to manage remotely. They’re less durable. They’re… um… not built for business.”
There are more than 20 Ultrabooks overall on the market at the moment, with a median price point of around $1,000. As the tablet market continues to grow, Intel says it will release hybrid notebook/tablet Ultrabooks with the company’s latest Ivy Bridge processors.
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