Monday, September 28, 2009

ARM will overtake Intel in netbooks, smartbooks, says analyst

LONDON — Intel Corp. will claim 94 percent of the netbook/smartbook market in 2009 but ARM Holdings plc and its processor licensees with take the lead in 2012, according to Robert Castellano of market research company The Information Network (New Tripoli, Pennsylvania).

Indeed Castellano sees the market splitting between Intel-powered netbooks and ARM-powered smartbooks, and offering slightly different market offerings. Netbooks will cost more than $200 and offer just 3.5 hours of operation on battery while being Windows-compatible. In contrast ARM smartbooks will cost less than $200, run Linux or Chrome operating systems and last 8 hours between recharges.

As such Castellano asserts that ARM processors, not Intel's Atom, will benefit from the current technology-economic cycle. In 2009 netbooks (powered by Intel) will hit 22.1 million units while the market for smartbooks powered by ARM will number 1.4 million.

In 2010, Intel netbooks will move to 31.1 million units while ARM smartbooks climb to 7.8 million units. In 2012 Intel will ship in 43.2 million netbooks while ARM processors will control 52.9 million smartbooks giving ARM 55 percent of the market and Intel 45 percent. Castellano does not foresee any other processor architectures breaking into the fast-growing sector.

The growing trend to offer subsidized computer equipment as a part of a service contract for 3G is also like to favor smartbooks over netbooks, the company said. "Sales of netbooks bundled with 3G services in the Taiwan market reached 15,000 units in August, accounting for 50 percent of total retail sales. Smartbook numbers, because of their design and need for cloud connectivity, will grow even more strongly," the Information Network said in a statement.

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