Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Poor Ultrabook Sales See Manufacturers Opting for Low Cost Machines

UltrabookAccording to multiple reports and sources, suppliers of ultrabooks are facing a lot of issues with profitability and market. As a result, many manufacturers are expected to turn to low-cost designs to make up for it. According to an anonymous CNET source that speaks directly to ultrabook suppliers, "The ultrabook adoption during the holiday season was ugly." Before you go jumping to conclusions, this source was only talking about one ultrabook manufacturer specifically.

That being said, the ultrabook market for all suppliers is still facing challenges. According to the same source, "You've got a down market on the eve of a new operating system (Windows 8, obviously) at a price point that's fairly robust (meaning high)." On top of that, Acer, one of the high-profile ultrabook vendors, stated that it is currently not making a profit on lower-end models according to a recent report in The Verge.

The company's Aspire S3 ultrabook has been generally priced at $899 but could drop as low as $799. Acer's Chairman also stated back in December that ultrabook sales should be somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 in Q4. Other top vendors, like HP and Dell, have just started selling ultrabooks, which makes their success or failure hazy.

However, a recent report from Asia has claimed that poor sales for vendors is forcing them to rethink ultrabooks altogether. According to a report in Digitimes citing industry sources, "Existing Sandy-bridge ultrabooks are too expensive." Many are speculating that, as a result, many ultrabook manufacturers will turn to thin laptops similar to ultrabooks that do not incur the high costs of current designs. Things like metal cases, expensive hinges and expensive solid state drives are what are keeping ultrabook prices high enough to dissuade potential buyers.

These new thin laptops are predicted to have prices in the $600 range and launch in Q2 2012, although that strategy could also backfire. Low-cost laptops, like the netbook, have yet to be widely accepted due to the fact that they were built from cheap chassis materials, had low-end components and lacked the performance power of other laptops. What this could mean for the laptop industry as a whole is still up in the air.

Source: CNET - As ultrabook makers seek stronger sales, some opt for low cost

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

LeanPrint Reduces Ink Use by 40 Percent

On Monday, March 5 Adobe announced a new service that is designed to reduce the amount of ink used when printing. It is being called LeanPrint.

According to Adobe, LeanPrint will save up to 40 percent of the toner that would normally be used when printing something. It is able to do this in certain modes like “SuperSaver” and “TonerSaver.” The basic idea of LeanPrint is that it will work to squeeze more onto a page and reduce the amount of toner used on prints that use a lot of ink. This will help to not only save on ink but paper as well.

Now, when you think about it, this new software seems like it would be undermining printer company’s plans to sell you a cheap printer that must be replaced with expensive toner when the ink runs out; however, Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) is the first printer maker to endorse and promote the new LeanPrint software. According to Adobe, Toshiba will be available to distribute LeanPrint to its customers across the continent.

Adobe said that LeanPrint is targeting both large companies as well as individuals. Those who are interested must purchase a license from a company that is partnering with Adobe, like Toshiba. Customers can either sign up for a 30-day free trial or pay $99 for a one-year subscription.

"Adobe has always prided itself on environmentally conscious behavior, from its LEED Platinum certified buildings to its carbon offsets," said Raman Nagpal, the senior director and general manager of Adobe Print and Scan Business. "With LeanPrint, we are bringing together our commitment to the environment and a deep understanding of the print industry to further drive down printing costs. Adobe is excited to launch LeanPrint with a like-minded company like Toshiba, who will help distribute this technology throughout North America."

All of this news is not good for printer companies like HP. During a second quarter conference call, the chief executive of HP, Meg Whitman, discussed the current shift of corporations and individual consumers towards printing less.

"We faced a number of challenges and the printing market is more mature and more mature markets tend to be governed more by macroeconomic forces," Whitman said. "I am convinced that a number of our challenges do relate to the macroeconomic challenges, weak consumer demand, weak small office, home office demand. The sell-through of ink in particular is at pretty low levels and it's not just our ink, it's industry ink."

This really could pose an issue to printer companies in the near future; however, it also might help to reduce the inflated pricing of toner. It will be interesting to see how printer companies react.

Sources: PCMag - Adobe 'LeanPrint' Claims to Cut Ink Use by 40 Percent and Tom's Guide - Adobe Releases LeanPrint Software to Save on Ink, Paper

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

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