Global notebook demand is growing at a much faster rate than market researchers had predicted, according to chip giant Intel, which now expects as many as 30 million notebooks to be sold in 2000.
Worldwide notebook demand has proven so strong that Intel now sees shipments reaching between 28 million and 30 million units this year, said Don MacDonald, director of mobile platform group marketing at Intel.
Citing an earlier forecast of 23 million units by analyst firm IDC, MacDonald said that market researchers had underestimated demand.
As the world's largest supplier of the processors found in both notebook and desktop PCs, Intel is well positioned to see where the market is headed.
Within the next year, Intel expects to almost double the clock speed of its fastest processor for use in notebooks. MacDonald said that over the coming year processors will reach speeds of more than 1GHz and maybe as high as 1.4GHz. Intel's current top-of-the-line notebook processor is a mobile 750MHz Pentium III.
Ultra-portables and so-called thin-and-light notebook form factors are proving increasingly popular with users, noted MacDonald. By 2004, such form factors could make up as much as 75 percent of total shipments, up from 30 percent today.
Currently, however, full-featured notebooks that effectively can be used to replace desktop PCs make up the bulk of shipments, said Theresa Nozick, an analyst at California-based Mobile Insights. "This is the most popular form factor across the board with both business users and consumers," she said, in a separate presentation.