LIMITED COMMITMENTS from touchscreen suppliers might affect the availability of touch-enabled notebooks, according to a report by NPD Displaysearch.
Consumer demand for tablets is leaving suppliers waiting for ultrabook demand to hit a baseline before they switch their manufacturing attentions. According to the report, suppliers of touchscreens are hesitant to start work on touch-enabled notebook displays because of the industry's relative infancy and lack of demand so far.
Sales of Windows 8 devices have failed to impress since the product launched last year. Acer president Jim Wong recently opined that his firm was considering focusing on building more Chromebooks because of the poor sales of Windows 8 PCs.
While Wong blamed Microsoft for the poor sales, analysts have put the blame on vendors like Acer. IDC recently released a report that said Windows 8 hardware vendors were not properly promoting the Redmond firm's touch-enabled operating system.
NPD also reported that ultraslim notebooks are seeing availability crippled by display suppliers. The difficultly involved in making ultraslim displays is making suppliers slow to get the product out into the market.
"The challenge from a production standpoint is that manufacturing ultra-slim glass, 0.4mm and thinner, is not only difficult but handling and transporting such fragile glass requires special equipment," said senior analyst with NPD Displaysearch Richard Shim.
"Only two panel suppliers, AUO and Innolux, are taking on the extra expense of using ultra-slim glass to offer panels in any significant volumes."
Despite the potential display shortage, Shim projects good things from ultra-slim notebooks. NPD's study said the market will see a boost in sales in 2014 and 2015.
NPD does not foresee the notebooks greatly boosting PC sales overall, but predicts that the ultra-slim machines will be adopted in the high-end market. µ