According to the latest market data from ABI Research, almost 35 million netbooks will be shipped by manufacturers in 2009, a forecast the firm first made in February. Although almost all large OEMs introduced their netbooks, the main suppliers of the low-cost mobile PCs will be Acer Group, Asustek Computer and Samsung Electronics.
“74% of 2008 netbook shipments bore the brands of just three vendors: Acer, Asus and Samsung. However, the rapid growth of netbooks as a second computer in developed markets will be eclipsed in coming years by vendors targeting developing nations and first Internet PCs at home,” said senior analyst Jeff Orr from ABI.
The netbook and nascent mobile Internet device markets are not locked up. While several of the leading netbook vendors are recognizable brands from the laptop and desktop computing markets, new vendors – including handset maker Nokia – have introduced netbooks and MIDs in an effort to participate in the growth of these segments. ABI Research forecasts UMDs (ultra-mobile devices: the combination of netbooks, MIDs and UMPCs) to top 124 million systems shipped in 2011.
As netbook markets thrive, the mobile consumer electronics category, which is expected to account for only about two million device shipments this year, is forecast to top 50 million in 2014. This market is currently led by connected Personal Navigation Devices (PNDs) and e-book readers. Every major navigation company is in the running, offering turn-by-turn navigation, overlays, weather, traffic, and real-time traffic updates. Amazon’s Kindle has lots of competition coming from the Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Daily Edition, iRex, Plastic Logic Que and others.
Finally, the analyst believes, laptop vendors may soon “reinvent the UMPC,” bringing down the low-end laptop price to $500 through ultra-low voltage machines.
“That could affect some netbook sales in developed markets, especially the business users,” said Mr. Orr.