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Netbooks growing — in two ways

Aug 1, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Global shipments of “low-price mini notebooks” will reach 8.02 million units in 2008, according to a market research firm in Taipei, Taiwan. Market Intelligence Center (MIC) expects near-term volume growth of 128 percent annually, with shipments reaching 18.3 million units in 2009.

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“Most” products in the category will use Microsoft's XP operating system, MIC said, with Linux as a “complementary option.” However, specific percentages were not forecast, at least in the firm's summary findings paper. For readers interested in comparing available offerings, LinuxDevices and its sister site WindowsForDevices have put together Showcase listings of netbooks models available with either OS:

MIC also said it expects netbooks to get more powerful, with many models stepping up to Intel's low-power Atom processors, some of which were designed specifically for the product category. Netbooks will also get larger, with keyboard sizes “approaching” those in standard laptops, and screens growing from 7- to 8.9- and then to 10-inches, MIC expects.

Asus EEE 901, MSI Wind NB U100, and Acer Aspire One
(Click any for details)

Asus “dominated” the netbook market in early 2008, with its EEE PC, initially priced as low as $200 with a Xandros Linux OS and 7-inch screen. its Atom-based EEE 901 follow-up, with its 8.9-inch screen, is currently fourth on's top-selling computing products list.

HP, Dell, and Acer — described by MIC as “the world's top three notebook PC vendors” — are aiming for the middle ground initially, with 8.9-inch models expected to ship this year. Mainboard specialist Asus, meanwhile, is taking a shotgun approach to the market, aggressively rolling out diverse products with screen sizes spanning from 7- to 10-inches, MIC said.

Another mainboard giant, MSI, is targeting higher ground from the start, with its 10-inch screen model, the MSI Wind. Early Wind models running XP arrived in the U.S. only yesterday, at a few e-tailers such as MWave, which currently offers the sought-after 6-cell model in black, albeit priced north of $600. A Linux version (SUSE) priced at $400, with a bit less RAM and smaller 3-cell battery, is expected in Sept., MSI says. Meanwhile, lots of people appear to be installing Linux themselves with some success.

Senior Analyst Chris Wei said, “The low-price mini notebook PC market was dominated by the Asus Eee PC in the first half of 2008. Acer rolled out the Aspire One (story) notebook PC, which is very competitive on price, and Acer has shown an aggressive attitude towards developing the low-price mini notebook PC market.”

Wei added, “In the second half of 2008, price competition is expected to emerge in the market, and product specifications could be improved by vendors in order to better compete in the market.”

MIC appears to offer several reports on the emerging netbook market, including:

  • New generation comes to the fore: Low-price mini notebook PC trends at Computex 2008
  • Low-price mini notebook PC product trends and key vendors' strategies

More details may be available on its website, here.

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