galaxy_tab3PC shipments overall may have declined last year, but shipments of ultra-portables doubled year over year in 2013, according to a new report from ABI Research. Of 182.7 million notebook PCs shipped in 2013, 22.5 million (12.3%) were ultra-portables, ABI estimates.

Excluding Apple MacBook Air’s running MacOS, most ultra-portables run Windows 8, which likely held back purchases due to “usability issues and poor first impressions by early adopter audiences,” ABI notes in its “Ultrabook, Netbook and Smartbook” market data, part of ABI’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks and eReaders Research Service. Pent-up demand may be released once these issues are completely resolved, ABI adds.

Examining average selling prices (ASPs) across 24 countries tracked in November 2013, ABI “found average ultra-portable PC selling prices ranging from US$940 to US$1540 with the majority of models offered above US$1200 in each country,” senior practice director Jeff Orr was quoted. “The ASPs suggest ultra-portables including the convertible and detachable 2-in-1 configurations remained at the high-end of the Notebook PC category exiting 2013.”

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Going forward, ABI anticipates LTE mobile broadband will become a standard feature and differentiator for mobile network operators. “As LTE reaches critical mass for network coverage, markets will be able to abandon 3G mode compatibility and carriers will readily shift toward LTE-only modems in data-centric computing applications,” Orr added.

Though ultra-portable sales are highest in North America at present, that will change by 2015, when sales in the Asia-Pacific region will surpass that for North America, ABI forecasts.

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