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Price may hinder initial demand for Ultrabook

PC makers are being conservative about initial Ultrabook demand, which is likely a good call given the current pricing.

Toshiba's Portege Z830 Ultrabook CNET TV

Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, and other PC vendors selling Ultrabooks--thin, light notebooks designed to evolve the trusty laptop--are playing it safe with inventory amid fears of weak demand.

According to Taiwan's DigiTimes, notebook manufacturers are keeping initial Ultrabook runs at 50,000 units. That unit total is enough to test the waters, but little else.

Last week, Lenovo and Toshiba unveiled their Ultrabooks. The devices look sharp and well designed, but expensive. Intel has touted its Ultrabook reference design, but prices appear to start above $1,000. That price tag isn't going to cut it with the mass market when the MacBook Air will cost $999 to start.

Meanwhile, everyone knows that prices will fall. Why buy an Ultrabook for above $1,000 when this skinny laptop will go for $699 or so in six months?

DigiTimes noted that Ultrabook manufacturers are wary of a weak economy. However, that factor is only one part of the equation. The reality is that Ultrabooks need to get less expensive in a hurry if they are going to boost PC sales overall.

This story was originally published at ZDNet's Between the Lines.