Big boom in mini notebooks

Global sales of cheap mini notebook PC shipments are expected to reach 8.02 million units in 2008, according to a study by MIC. In 2009, shipment volume is forecast to reach 18.3 million units, growing at 128% annually.

The sector was dominated by the Asus Eee PC in the first half of 2008, but now Acer has launched the Aspire One notebook PC and announced aggressive expansion plans for the segment.

Screen sizes are gradually moving from 7 inch (17.8 cm) to 8.9 (22.6cm) and 10 inch (25.4cm), while the OS adopted include Microsoft XP, with Linux as an option.

Keyboard sizes are approaching those of ordinary notebook PCs and products are also adopting Intel's Atom processor.

HP, Dell and Acer are expected to focus on 8.9 inch products, while MSI's models mainly feature 10 inch screens. Asus has launched diverse products with screen sizes ranging from 7 inch to 10 inch.

In the second half of 2008, price competition is expected to intensify, as the world's top three notebook PC vendors, HP, Dell and Acer introduce new mini notebooks.

See additional story in the Financial Times here