Computer makers are trying hard to shake-up their stagnating market. But, so far, consumers do not seem sold on their latest innovations.
This month the world's top three PC makers, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell, each unveiled new "ultrabooks". Yet this emerging category, which combines features of a tablet and is essentially a slimmer, lighter laptop, has been a tough sell.
Ultrabooks were "quietly introduced" into stores during the winter holiday season, according to Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst at the research company Gartner. Yet, she notes they "didn't seem to draw consumers' attention".
"Consumers had very little understanding and awareness of ultrabooks, and only a small group of consumers was willing to pay the price premium for such models," says Ms Kitagawa.
Combined, companies with ultrabooks and other kinds of PCs shipped 92.2 million units in the final quarter of last year, which was the first drop after two quarters of growth and a 1.4 per cent fall from the end of 2010, according to data released last week by Gartner.
The chip maker Intel hopes ultrabooks will reinvigorate the industry, much like netbooks and tablets have in the past, and more partners are using its processors in new models for the UAE.
Two weeks ago, Lenovo released its IdeaPad U300 Ultrabook, boasting that its lighter than a 1.5-litre bottle of water and thinner than "your average fashion magazine".
The Dh4,499 (US$1,224) computer weighs as little as 1.32kg and is 14.9mm thick at its thinnest point. Despite its downsizing, the U300 claims a battery life of eight hours.
It is crafted from a single-piece aluminum shell, with scratch-resistant colouring, and includes a 13.3-inch screen. But one of its handiest features is a "breathable keyboard", which sucks air through the keyboard then pushes it out through the sides and rear hinge -rather heating the user's lap.