Ultra-portable PC shipments doubled last year, says ABI

Ultra-portable PC shipments doubled in 2013, reaching 22.5 million units or 12 percent of the total notebook PC shipments, according to ABI Research stats.

The category of ultra-portable PCs includes laptops with screen sizes less than 14 inches and weighing less than 4 pounds, including Apple's MacBook Air, Lenovo IdeaPad, Asus Zenbook, Dell Latitude, Acer Aspire, Lenovo ThinkPad, HP Pavilion and Sony VAIO.

"The bulk of ultra-portable PCs are powered by the Windows 8 operating system, which suffered fits and starts during 2013 due to usability issues and poor first impressions by early adopter audiences. A revision, Windows 8.1, was released in the second half of the year to address these concerns, though popular opinion suggests many considering a refresh to their existing systems are willing to wait for the hiccups to be worked out before making a financial commitment," explains ABI.

In addition, tablets are becoming more popular, siphoning off potential ultra-portable purchasers, says ABI. By 2015, the research firm predicts that the Asia-Pacific region will pass North America as the largest market for ultra-portables.

Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI, expects LTE mobile broadband to be a differentiator for mobile network operators and fuel demand of mobile devices in addition to smartphones.

"As LTE reaches critical mass for network coverage, markets will be able to abandon 3G mode compatibility and carriers will readily shift toward LTE-only modems in data-centric computing applications," observes Orr.

For more:
- see ABI's release

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