Acer boss: Cheaper ultrabooks next spring, $499 model in 2013

Acer’s infinitely sleek yet painfully expensive ultrabook is due for a $100-$200 price drop in the first half of 2012. It’s doubtful the cut will earn the device an HP TouchPad level of consumer interest, but anyone in the market for one may want to hold off through the always temping holiday season.

According to insider news site DigiTimes, Acer President Jim Wong confirmed the currently $1,000 device will drop to $799-$899 by next June. Consumers anticipating a more mainstream price are in for a longer wait. Acer ultrabooks will hit $499 in 2013, said Wong.

Acer’s first ultrabook, the Aspire S3, launched in October for $899. An i7 model with beefier specs hit shelves a month later at $1,299. Wong expects the company to ship between 250,000 and 300,000 of them through 2011.

Wong declined to elaborate on what cost-saving measures would be implemented in the devices to slash prices. Whatever they are, the looming threat of rival manufacturers’ offerings coming to market was likely a strong motivator. HP plans to launch its first ultrabook, the business-focused Folio, on December 7.

Last month, research group IHS noted that ultrabook makers needed to replicate media tablets’ sexiness and price point if they intended to stave off competition from the likes of the iPad. So far, Acer and others are behind.

A $499 ultrabook in 2013 sounds great, but modern tablets will likely be even cheaper. Amazon’s new Kindle Fire launched at an attractive $199, while Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet costs $249.

What would be the perfect price for an ultrabook before you bit? Let us know in the comment section.