The sales slowdown reported by European notebook market watchers is being echoed by Taiwanese manufacturer Compal, which last week admitted that key vendors have been cutting back on the scale of their orders.
The world's second-largest notebook ODM has consequently cut its forecast for the number of notebooks shipped overall in 2004 from 47m to 43-44m, a decline of between 8.5 and 6.4 per cent.
And Quanta, the only ODM that out-ships Compal, has reportedly trimmed its internal shipment target from 12m to 11m, anticipated what amounts to an 8.3 per cent decline in demand.
Market watcher IDC recently said some 47m notebooks will ship worldwide this year, up 19 per cent on 2003's total of 39.5m. However, its original 2004 forecast was for 50m units, so again, it's expecting 2004's total to come in six percentage points below where it originally thought it would be.
Some see Intel's decision to delay 'Sonoma', the second generation of its Centrino platform, to Q1 2005 as a key reason for the decline. Originally due to have shipped in the autumn, Sonoma, with its improved multimedia, wireless networking, PCI Express and Serial ATA support, and faster, 533MHz system bus, could well have provided the mid to late H2 sales kick the notebook business apparently feels it needs and whose lack is diminishing demand.
Sonoma, with is stronger consumer focus than Centrino, stood to make a big impression in the holiday sales, they say. ®
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