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Ultrabooks selling poorly and will "continue to struggle in 2013"

Ultrabooks are failing to heat up the PC market, according to stats from IHS iSuppli.

The firm estimates that PC makers will ship about 10.3 million ultrabooks worldwide in 2012, but that's down significantly from the 22 million that IHS predicted earlier this year. As a result, IHS has dropped its 2013 ultrabook forecast from 61 million to 44 million.

"There once was a time when everyone knew the 'Dude you're getting a Dell' slogan. Nowadays no one can remember a tag line for a new PC product, including for any single ultrabook," Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS, said in a statement. "So far, the PC industry has failed to create the kind of buzz and excitement among consumers that is required to propel ultrabooks into the mainstream. This is especially a problem amid all the hype surrounding media tablets and smartphones."

Still, it's not all doom and gloom for ultrabooks. The slim PCs just need to move past "nebulous marketing and unappealing price," according to IHS, which could help boost sales to 95 million by 2016.

Ultrabooks - which are basically thin and battery-efficient Intel-based laptops - need to be more reasonably priced says IHS.

"If ultrabooks using the new Windows 8 operating system come close to the $600-$700 (around £400) range next year, while adding in an attractive new consumer feature such as touch screen, a good chance exists for strong sales in 2013," IHS concluded. "If not - and ultrabooks stay at the $1,000 (£600+) level - their sales will continue to struggle in 2013 as they must compete against lower-priced options, such as tablets and smartphones."

That includes the new iPhone 5, the Kindle Fire HD, and upcoming Microsoft Surface tablet.

Intel's strict ultrabook guidelines, meanwhile, are leaving some PCs out in the cold, prompting the even more confusing "ultrathin" designation, IHS said.

Intel has admitted that next big thing in ultrabooks is coming in 2013, not this year. At this year's Intel Developer Forum, the chipmaker said that a "massive, massive amount of innovation is coming" next year thanks to its fourth-generation Core chips, code-named Haswell. That will make for a new rush of ultrabooks featuring smartphone-like voice recognition, touch, finger tracking, augmented reality, and gesture-based interfaces courtesy of clip-on sensors that will eventually be integrated into laptops, and more.

Is that enough to spark interest? It seems we'll have to wait until next year to find out.