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© anthony bolan dreamstime.com Analysis | June 03, 2013

Good reviews, but poor sales

In addition to the related publicity talks, the touch NB has been pursuing the practicability of the application, including the detachable idea that combines the working ability with the NB keyboard and the mobility similar to the tablet for the entertainment and leisure purpose, and the two-way design is popular with the market.

The idea of the detachable touch NB is magnificent, but currently many bottlenecks remain on its costs and design to be overcome, according to WitsView, the display research division of the global market intelligence provider TrendForce. The detachable may see many good reviews, but the sales could be poor this year with its estimated 12% share of the overall touch NB segment.

The cost is the biggest challenge faced by the detachable touch NB, says Eric Chiou, research director of WitsView. Firstly, to adapt to the separable design and the using environment, the detachable hinge is a must. Secondly, neither the extra battery nor the flash memory can be lacked to get the touch NB operational independently as a tablet after the detachment.

These costly components expectedly make an additional bill of $60-80, and once the cost is reflected to the selling price, the detachable touch NB price is at least $100-150 higher than that of the standard clamshell type even with the similar spec. The price difference is big enough for consumers to buy another 7” tablet, damping the hybrid advantage of the two-functionality model.

Besides, some contradictions exist between the transformer structure and the slim-light design. The increased components have undoubtedly lifted the total weight of the model, and the most bulky of all is the battery that goes as high as 200-300g, indicates Chiou.

Compared to the conventional clamshell products, the detachable touch NB has a 15-20% increase in weight at least, which forces buyers to give up the NB mobility before enjoying its convenience of the transformation. It is hard for a product full of compromises to gain consumers’ recognition.

The detachable touch NB is indeed an indicator itself, and from consumers’ point of view, it fulfills users’ wish to combine multiple functions to only one mode, while for NB brands, it eases tablets’ sharing and attacks to the NB market.

WitsView points out that as the touch NB popularization for this year depends on the selling price, and the trend that the long-term-leader clamshell touch NB remains the mainstream product stays unchanged, while the detachable products are still immature in terms of cost and design.

Despite its small market share for this year, the detachable product is likely to lead to find a way out in the mid and high-end segment and build a foundation for the revolution of the new NB design with the 13.3” and under as the development core.

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