Dell ultrabook sales better than expected: Who needs a tablet after all?

Dell ultrabook sales better than expected: Who needs a tablet after all?

Summary: Dell's ultrabook sales are three-times what it had expected, marking a rising boom in enterprise sales. Who needs an iPad when the next-generation notebooks are on sale?

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TOPICS: Dell, iPad, Mobility
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Dell's XPS 13 ultrabook is faring better than it expected, the company said.

Sam Burd, Dell's vice president of consumer and SMB product group, pegged the figure at a little less than three-times the expected demand. The ultrabook went on sale in late February.

Almost half of the sales dedicated to business customers, Dell's product marketing director Alison Gardner told Reuters, but shied away from revealing hard numbers.

Apple's MacBook Air threw a spanner in the laptop market works. Its razor edge thin design and ultra portability forced computer makers into thinking twice about the traditional laptop market. Nobody wants chunk and clunk anymore, and business users know productivity shouldn't and doesn't have to give way for aesthetic design.

Consumers and businesses alike want MacBook Air's, but the price remains far to be desired. Dell had an opportunity to hit back on the pricing front, marketing the product lower than Apple's flagship laptop, but $999 for a matched hardware competitor threw down the Mac vs. PC gauntlet.

It's the MacBook Air for Windows users.

The ultrabook market was and remains a fight-back to Apple's ultrathin laptop. Intel's investment in the ultrabook is clear from its biggest marketing push in a decade. AMD is reportedly working on "ultrathin" alternatives to Intel's ultrabook effort.

Dell's refocused efforts on the enterprise market now brings in half of the company's profit, after the unit doubled in size over the past five to six years. Dell has stakes in the enterprise market and cannot afford to lose out. By grappling with the ultrabook market sooner rather than later, the computer maker retains its competitive edge.

But analysts expect ultrabooks to face fierce competition from tablets in the coming quarters.

IHS iSuppli estimates more than 40 percent of laptop shipments will be ultrabooks by 2015. By then, an ultrabook will be synonymous with "laptop" or "notebook", as the transition between the old and the new increases.

But the tablet market is heavily unbalanced in favour of the iPad, which soaks up more than 60 percent of the market share.

Laptops are for productivity, while tablets give enterprises portability. The post-PC era may be upon us, but the enterprise still has a few years to go until the keyboard can be entirely replaced.

Dell's failure to hit the tablet market hard left the company broken. It aims to relaunch its consumer assault in the tablet space later this year in time for the lucrative Christmas holiday period. The Dell Streak tablet never took off, but its commitment to working with both Android and Windows 8 points to a dual focus on consumer and enterprise hardware.

Intel says PC vendors will likely ship more ultrabooks this year. An Inspiron consumer version of the popular XPS 13 ultrabook will go on sale later.

Image credit: CNET.

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Topics: Dell, iPad, Mobility

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55 comments
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  • Sales were 3x what Dell expected eh?

    So what, instead of 1 Ultrabook, Dell sold 3?

    What a silly statistic. Until Dell mans up and tells us exactly how many UtlraBooks they sold (and not shipped), the headline of this article is completely ludicrous.
    Melciz
    • .

      They sold at least 5 as we have bought 5 for some of the sales reps in our office, pretty nice machines.
      danjames2012
      • Why does only Apple release sales figures?

        Neither Dell, nor Samung nor Amazon release Unit sales figures. At most they may release numbers of how many they ship into the channel, but it seems only Apple is open enough to always tell us what their numbers are.

        Does this not ring alarm bells for everyone when Dell releases such a silly statement that they sold 3x more than they expected?

        How on earth can you judge anything by this completely useless statement other than to assume that Apple is still slaughtering them in unit sales and at the cash register?
        Melciz
      • Melciz, Apple gives slaes figures of units sold not to customers

        but to their channel partners (best buy, ect). They don't give sales figures of how many are actually sold to cusomers, and how many are sitting on shelves or warehouses.
        William Farrel
      • bull

        @Melciz Apple change their reporting 2 years ago and now count everything shipped into the channel as sold and thus, their numbers are not 100% either.
        slickjim
      • Dell hasn't released any actual figures here

        The shipping vs sold question is a minor issue as Dell hasn't released even shipping figures.

        Without telling us what they expected to sell, we have no idea how many Ultrabooks they have actually sold. As such, this article is ridiculous as it has no basis in fact.
        Melciz
    • Wow silly comment

      You do realize what Dell sells in the channel is a small fraction of what they actually sell overall. I do not believe this Ultrabook is in the Channel, As for Apple, who cares.
      schultzycom
  • Can I use it one-handed while standing on the subway?

    No, didn't think so. I'm sticking with the tablet.
    kurio999
    • What tablet can anyone use one-handed?

      I've yet to see a tablet (and I have a few in different sizes) that you can use one handed. Maybe you can start some video and/or slideshow and then hold it one handed. But to 'use it' you'll certainly have to have two hands on to press/drag anything on it's screen.

      Tablets and 'ultrabooks' have very different uses. Tablets are mostly consumer (viewer) devices while PCs (including Macbook Air) are wide ranging, full powered devices that allow both viewing and producing content.
      MasterE@...
    • Use your third hand to check if you still got your wallet

      LOL: Now there's a big market
      sickntired44
    • lol

      that wont last long, unless you use some cheap &ugly looking chinese tablet.

      and btw fyi for the one handed use there are panasonic laptops with special strap. (touchscreen included)
      polarcat
  • sigh

    I wish google news implemented an algorithmic method for calling out a cheap headline by scanning the pitiful content and warning me, rather than clicking and knowingly given click revenue for crap.
    ncoad
  • Actual numbers are key to this story...

    After all what if we read tomorrow or later today that say company Y sold 3 times less than expected? The numbers that I am referring too are how many actually "sold" and what were Dell's projections? Another number that would be nice to have is the profit margin on each individual sale of these devices.

    Pagan jim
    anonymous
    • Profit margins?

      They better be lower than Apple's if they expect me to purchase it. That is one of the main reasons I don't buy Apple... their ridiculous profit margins. I don't like to feel ripped off.
      kstap
      • Cost

        I looked at the current pricing for the Dell XPS 13 vs. MacBook Air after I read this article. It's hard to do a direct comparison since Apple isn't as detailed in their specs as Dell is. Having said that, the base XPS13 was listing for 1169.99. The closest MacBook Air was 1299. That's a savings of 140 (12% of the Dell's price, 10% of the Mac's). Given that Intel is supposedly incentivizing ultrabooks, I have to wonder why the price differential isn't greater? I was hoping to pick one of these up and put Linux on it, to save some money. Oh well, that was a nice thought while it lasted.
        use_what_works_4_U
      • on cost

        @ use_what_works_4_U

        The Dell is cheaper, because it's lower spec, unfortunately. The Macbook Air still does not have real competition.
        danbi
    • Figures

      Typical fanboy response, if it isn't Apple, you will not believe it even though PCs still out sell Macs by a large margin.
      slickjim
      • Except that The comparison is with iPads and iPads outsell Ultrabooks

        This article is comparing Ultrabooks vs Apple's iPad. Guess what, the iPad outsells every ultrabook on the market by an enormous margin.

        In fact in Q4 2011, Apple was the largest PC manufacturer in total with iPads + the MacBook Air completely obliterating every other tablet and Ultrabooks on the market.
        Melciz
  • Expect to sell 5 and sell 10....

    And it exceeded your expectations.

    Why anyone buys anything from Dell is a mystery to me - they make utter GARBAGE.
    itguy10
  • Dell ultrabook sales better than expected: Who needs a tablet after all?

    It's official, the tablet is dead. No reason to pay $829 for a limited in function device which we will call the iPad when you can use a fully featured portable ultrabook that will better suit your needs.
    Loverock Davidson-