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Ultrabook sales up in first half of 2012, Windows 8 waits patiently

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We've seen so much Ultrabook news recently we're beginning to think they're catching on. Market research firm the NPD Group has stepped in to confirm our suspicions, reporting a 39 percent jump in sales of premium Windows laptops (900 bucks and up) during the first five months of this year, compared with the same period in 2011. Despite a three percent drop in sales of $700-plus Windows notebooks, the Ultrabook share of this bracket increased steadily to nearly 11 percent. The analysts predict sales of these lower-end models will pick up as back-to-school purchases sooth the post-summer blues, with a general boost to the whole Ultrabook market expected when Windows 8 arrives. One thing the figures don't tell us is what impact these sales are having on the revenue of Apple's skinny flagship, but we'd sure like to know. If numbers are your thing, the PR is past the break.

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Ultrabook Propels Growth in Higher Price Point Notebooks as Overall Market Struggles

PORT WASHINGTON, NEW YORK, JUNE 28, 2012 – Ultrabook sales are off to a fast start capturing nearly 11 percent of all $700+ Windows notebooks sales at U.S. retail through the first five months of 2012 according to leading market research company The NPD Group's Retail Tracking Service. While the overall Windows market for notebook PC sales fell by 17 percent, Ultrabooks helped propel the premium market with Windows notebooks priced over $700 falling by just 3 percent, and those priced over $900 increasing 39 percent versus the prior year.

"Ultrabooks have helped establish a market for more premium-priced Windows notebooks at retail," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group. "The share of sales that the $700+ notebook segment represents jumped from about 12 percent in 2011 to nearly 14 percent in 2012 as a result of the solid market acceptance Ultrabooks have gained. Consumers continue to respond positively to finally being offered stylish, thinner, and more premium device offerings than ever before within the Windows ecosystem."

This strong performance comes as Ultrabook ASPs remain considerably more expensive than the market, with selling prices that averaged $927 over the first five months of 2012 and only dipping below $900, to $885, for the first time in May. While this is considerably above the Windows market price of $510 average pricing has risen by $13 since the same period in 2011, in part due to the growth in Ultrabook sales.

"As we head into the crucial back-to-school selling season, lower-cost Ultrabooks, some as low as $699, will be the hot form factor," said Baker. "As we look towards the fourth quarter, the expected launch of Windows 8, a wide variety of Ultrabooks with touch screens, and convertible form factors should continue to make this class of product top of mind with the consumer as well as provide a much needed revenue boost to the entire PC ecosystem."

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