Acer Issues Upbeat Outlook on Portable Devices

Acer issues upbeat forecasts for its own second quarter, and for the year it expects that global netbook shipments will double. Acer estimates that its Q2 PC shipments will grow 25 to 30 percent. It also expects its shipment of notebooks and low-cost netbook PCs to rise 35-40 percent, even as its desktop PC shipments are likely to drop 5-10 percent.

BEIJING-Acer Inc., the world's third-largest computer maker, said on Wednesday it expects its PC shipments to grow 25-30 percent in the current quarter from the year before, fuelled by a surge in portable computing devices.

The company said it expects its notebooks and low-cost netbook PC shipments to rise 35-40 percent, even as its desktop PC shipments were likely to drop 5-10 percent.

The strong growth comes as portable PCs are forecast to surpass desktops in terms of unit sales for the first time this year, according to IDC.

Acer, which saw its market share grow by 3 percentage points last year as a result of its line of low-cost netbook PCs optimized for Internet use, also issued an upbeat outlook for broader global netbook industry in 2009.

"One hundred percent growth in netbooks is not a problem," Acer Chairman J.T. Wang told reporters at a company event to launch a new line of notebook PCs.

He added the company will launch about 20-30 new models in the current quarter.

His forecast for netbook growth was roughly in line with IDC, which expects netbooks to grow 89.9 percent this year, compared with a 4.3 percent dip in overall PC shipments.

Many analysts expect Acer to launch a line of laptops that will run on Intel's new Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) chip during the Wednesday event.

Intel hopes the new chip will bridge the gap between its low-performance Atom chip typically used in netbooks, and its more powerful chipsets used in traditional notebook PCs.

Acer will be the first major PC brand to launch a line of notebook PCs using the CULV chip and some analysts say machines running on the chip could be the next big thing for the industry following the wild success of the low-cost netbook PC.

IDC said Acer shipped over 32 million PC units last year, lagging global leader Hewlett-Packard and Dell, but ahead of Lenovo and Toshiba.

(Reporting by Michael Wei and Kelvin Soh; Editing by Ken Wills)

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