In spite of high-profile launches, notebooks based on Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) aren't having much success in the market, contacts in the PC industry said Tuesday. Sales were expected to pick up in July and August but, DigiTimes said, have been modest even when the ultraportables were bundled with coupons to upgrade to Windows 7 for free. These companies are now counting on systems actually shipping with Windows 7 to see a jump, which for many won't occur until November.
At the same time, an influx of more companies shipping CULV-based notebooks and two new processors are both rumored to help drive the prices down. Many low-end systems could drop down to the equivalent of about $612 to $765, while higher-end systems could come in at the high end of that scale.
CULV-based notebooks been promoted by Intel and Microsoft alike as a better alternative to netbooks for some users due to their faster performance but still-thin profiles, long battery lifespans and larger screens. It's suspected that in either case the motive is to push more lucrative products, as the profit margins on CULV processors and Windows 7 are higher than Atom chips and Windows XP.
Acer and MSI have been the chief manufacturers of these systems but should be joined by at least Dell in the future. Apple's stance on the category is unknown as it has dismissed netbooks as too small and too slow but has never commented on systems in between these and regular notebooks.