Netbooks will fend off tablet challenge in 2011

The netbook market looks set to fend off the expected challenge from tablets this year, with shipments forecast to be maintained at 30 million units in 2011 – while Acer has denied rumours that it will be shutting the coffin lid on one of its top money-makers.

Despite pessimism among industry players regarding the netbook’s future, following the rise of the tablet post-iPad, it appears that views are shifting – with many believing that the netbook still has a place in the market.

It is thought that the top three netbook vendors will ship around 6 million units each this year, according to Digitimes’ sources.

One of the contributing reasons for this is the aggressive push into the tablet market by smartphone vendors which has meant that some notebook vendors that had originally planned to move fully into the tablet market are now pushing netbook shipments.

Intel continues to earn a tidy penny and is confident about its Atom platform’s shipments and profitability.  Intel also plans to launch an upgraded Atom processor, the Atom N570, at the end of February, while AMD recently launched its APU processor aiming to grab a share of the market.

Acer also showed its commitment to the netbook, denying claims that it may quit the market.

Acer is about to launch a new product and insists that the netbook will continue to play an important part in its line up.

Acer’s chairman, JT Wang, has in the past commented on the importance of the netbook in emerging markets, while the iPad has impacted heavily on specific markets such as they UK and US.

It had been rumoured that Acer is planning to step out of the market by gradually replacing its netbook product line with tablets including x86 and ARM-based flavours appearing in the first half of 2011.

However, sources have said Acer is unlikely to do this any time soon as the tablet’s future still remains unclear, while also backed by the strong show of netbooks in emerging and educational markets.

Furthermore, the president of Compal Electronics, a major netbook manufacturer with Acer, has said that netbook shipments up until the fourth quarter of 2010 have performed well.