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Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 11:53 pm PT (02:53 am ET)

Intel reportedly expects shipments of 20-30M ultrabooks in 2012

A new report claims Intel has set internal estimates of between 20 to 30 million ultrabook units this year.

According to DigiTimes, sources from the upstream supply chain have revealed the chipmaker's plans. Intel also reportedly expects ultrabook shipments to jump up by "double or even triple" in 2013.

The report noted that the second generation of ultrabook will launch "after May 2012" and combination tablet/ultrabooks will arrive in the fourth quarter alongside the release of Microsoft's Windows 8.

Intel is also said to be looking into technologies that could help spur ultrabook adoption. Reinforced plastic chassis and ultra-thin optical disk drives were specifically mentioned by the report as components that the company is cooperating with upstream makers on.

CEO Paul Otellini revealed on an earnings call earlier this week that the next generation of processors bound for "mainstream notebooks" won't arrive until the second launch of its Ivy Bridge architecture, as the "bulk" of the chips from the first wave will go toward desktop computers. Intel is expected to formally launch Ivy Bridge next week.

Intel put forth the ultrabook design specification last May as an alternative to the MacBook Air and iPad. For its part, the Mac maker is expected to release a thinner and light design of its 15-inch MacBook Pro within weeks that could threaten sales of high-end ultrabooks.

ASUS UX21 Ultrabook


The initial target for ultrabook sales was for the category to reach a 40 percent share of the consumer laptop market by the end of this year. However, at least one analyst believes ultrabook sales will not be "meaningful enough" to stimulate growth in the notebook market until 2013.