Acer hopes ultrabooks will slow down iPad, save PCs

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Acer VP Scott Lin in remarks captured Wednesday was adamant that Intel’s MacBook Air-inspired ultrabook concept would help rescue the PC industry. Tablets like the iPad were mostly popular because they were light, thin, and had good battery life while focused on entertainment, he said with Digitimes in earshot. Once ultrabooks got to that point, buying habits would “reverse” as people would rather get one ultrabook that did both instead of having both a tablet and a regular notebook.Buyers would swing back to notebooks in 2012, Lin insisted.

While some signs have emerged of a disputed iPad 2 production cut, the remarks come from a company with a history of predicting the imminent end of the tablet market and the iPad, only to be repeatedly proven wrong and suffer the consequences. A year ago, company chairman JT Wang was arguing that buyers would ‘return to their senses’, while others at Acer have called the iPad a fad and predicted that PCs would recover, always in the next quarter.

Acer has been falling rapidly in PC share in losses often directly credited to the iPad and Acer’s overreliance on low-end notebooks and netbooks. This spring, the company was eventually compelled to change its strategy and fired its CEO as part of a major company restructuring that focused much more on smartphones and tablets. The changes haven’t helped so far in the face of deepening company losses and a lackluster if solid entry into tablets with the Iconia Tab line.

Independently, unnamed industry contacts believed that the tablet market would slow down just because of replacement cycles. Tablets aren’t as dependent on performance as computers,which need to produce content as much as consume it, and wouldn’t be upgraded as often. Whether or not this is true has been debated, since tablets have made large strides in performance and have frequently been bought in place of notebooks rather than just as complements.