Research firm IDC has revised upwards by 20 percent its forecast for global netbook PC shipments in 2009, citing strong demand in some regions, and as more telecom operators begin subsidising these low-cost machines.
IDC now expects a total of 26.4 million netbook PCs to be shipped this year, largely due to stronger demand from Latin America, Asia and the United States. Its previous forecast was for 22 million shipments this year.
Netbooks are low-cost notebook PCs optimised for surfing the internet and other basic applications. Pioneered by Asustek in 2007, other brands such as HP and Dell have also pushed out their own lines since then.
The new figure would represent growth of 127 percent from 2008, as more consumers choose a netbook to complement their primary PC at home in developed markets, or as their first computer in emerging markets.
''We're seeing demand stronger than expectations in many areas, and now with telcos beginning to subsidise models in the United States as well, that's all pushing up demand,'' Bob O'Donnell, an IDC analyst told Reuters at PC trade show Computex.
''While we're still doubtful about how much operator subsidies will help in the United States, that's still a factor that could push up demand that we're looking at.'' He was also doubtful that Acer's launch of a netbook PC that runs on Google's open source Android software would threaten Microsoft's stranglehold on the operating system market.
''Android doesn't stand a chance,'' O'Donnell said.
''The fact is, people are using mini notebooks for the exact same thing they're using their notebooks for. They still want their software and applications to work.'' Acer said on Tuesday it will begin shipping netbooks running on Android in the third quarter.