Ultrabooks were expected to be the next in big thing in the PC product line; to save it, in fact.  But alas, that has not come to pass.  Sales once estimated to be over 20 million in 2012, now looks like they will be luck to reach 10 million.

The reasons (excuses) that are provided for the weak sales go a long way to explaining a few of the faults of modern day technology marketing.  But first, here’s the ultrabook story.

According to the money.cnn.com article, there are two primary reasons for the disappointing sales:  “nebulous marketing and unappealing price.”

It’s pointed out that companies are not generating any buzz for the ultrabooks in the same way that phone and tablet product lines do.  In defense of these companies, mobile is the wave of the future, so they automatically get more media attention.  The ultrabook price of $1,000 is seen as a major hindrance (I would agree) and they recommend getting them in the $600-$700 range.

Intel is the originator of the PC ultrabook (they in fact, trademarked the name)and therefore is taking the brunt of the blame for the disappointing sales.  Their “increasingly stringent set of definitions” has some ultrabooks now classified as “ultrathins”, which sounds more like a cigarette than a PC.

This new definition (ultrathins) brings up an interesting point regarding technology and the marketing of technology.  We need to be careful (both technies and marketers) that we not get too cute by renaming things that don’t need to be renamed.  I am in the business and the sheer number of “special names” and acronyms that are used as everyday language is overwhelming.  Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes.  Sometimes, the language used in the technology field is a barrier to communication, and ultimately to sales.

We cannot forget the user, the consumer.  We need to always remember that they are the ones (predominantly) that make our jobs possible.  We can’t turn our business into an insider’s club, or we will “cute” ourselves out of a job.