Acer, Asus Using Fiberglass to Keep Ultrabook Cost Low
Acer plans to release a 15-inch ultrabook with a fiberglass body in early 2012. Asus also plans to use fiberglass in future ultrabook models.
Industry sources report that Acer plans to launch a 15-inch ultrabook in early 2012 built with a fiberglass chassis manufactured by Mitac Precision Technology. Acer was originally scheduled to ship the ultrabook in Q4 2011, but reportedly chose to stall its release due to "unfavorable market conditions."
Asus, Acer and other companies have complained for months about the cost of manufacturing Intel's proposed new form factor while keeping the consumer price tag at the projected sub-$1000 point. The biggest obstacle they face thus far is the price of Intel's processors, but so far the company hasn't offered any kind of subsidy.
According to sources, the price of a fiberglass chassis will be $5 to $10 less expensive than those built using aluminum alloy, and will supposedly knock $20 off the cost of manufacturing the entire ultrabook. Fiberglass will also make the ultrabooks more lightweight than using aluminum. Sources said Acer plans to outsource these fiberglass ultrabooks to Compal Electronics.
In related news, Asus is also expected to use fiberglass cases from the same supplier for future ultrabook models. Currently the company is slated to officially introduce the aluminum-based UX21 and UX31 at a big event next week in New York City. Notebook Italia reports that these will be called "Zenbooks" based on the name provided in the title of the information request form on the ASUS UX countdown site. Since that report, the information request form has been removed.