Netbooks are set for a strong year in 2009, according to integrated circuit designers in Taiwan, which are already reporting increased OEM orders this month due to the imminent launch of a new Asus Eee PC, a new generation of Acer Aspire One netbooks and the Sony P series.
An increase in netbook sales would be good news for suppliers such as built-in camera chip manufacturer Sonix, Ethernet supplier Realtek Semiconductor and keyboard controller producer Ene Technology. All these companies are predicting increased sales in January, and steady growth throughout the first quarter of 2009.
Ene Technology is already estimating January sales to shoot up some 40 per cent sequentially from $1.52m to $2.09m (£1.09m to £1.5m).
Realtech is already looking to the next quarter of 2009 after testing its new wireless LAN single chip, predicted to have a positive effect on shipment growth in the second quarter. The firm also hopes to see a 10 per cent rise in sales this month over last month, reaching some $23.9m (£17.1m).
However, although Acer is expecting shipments in the tens of millions for its Aspire One netbooks in 2009, according to reports the company may not have hit its much lower 2008 shipment guidance. Acer forecast some five million netbook shipments last year, but sources believe that the actual number lies somewhere between 4.5 million and 4.8 million units.
Asus, too, seems to have fallen short of its five million netbook shipment goal, managing to ship only 4.9 million in 2008, with sales purportedly only reaching 4.5 million units.
Acer performed worse in actual sales, according to channel sources, managing to sell just four million units in 2008.
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