Acer hasn’t even launched their expected low-cost mini-notebook yet, but Acer president Gianfranco Lanci tells IDG News that he expects the company to sell between 5 and 7 million netbooks (Intel’s word for liliputers) this year. The company is expected to launch a sub-$300 laptop with an 8.9 inch display at Computex in June.
What I find interesting is that Lanci thinks netbook sales will cannibalize desktop sales a bit, but not laptop sales. Honestly, I think the opposite is possible. Part of the reason I bought a laptop in the first place was that I was tired of being chained to my desk. But I’ve never been thrilled with the sacrifices you need to make to work on a laptop. They’re less expandable than desktop computers, and parts are more expensive so you wind up paying a lot of money to get the same processor performance and storage capacity you’d get from a much cheaper desktop computer.
If I could have a cheap desktop in my office and a low-cost notebook I could take with me anywhere, that could be enough to make me happy. I’m not sure I’d need three computers: A desktop, a laptop, and a netbook. I mean, I’m a big nerd so I’d probably have at least those three anyway. But I’m not sure I’d need them all.
On the other hand, consumer laptop sales are starting to surpass desktop sales. So maybe it’s not too much of a stretch to say that netbooks won’t affect traditional laptop sales, because growth in that area is already so strong. Netbook sales could just help turn the 2 computer household into a different kind of 2 computer household. You have your full fledged laptop which you leave on your desk, but which you can move around the house when you need to. And you’ve got your low-cost, light-weight computer which you can throw in a bag and carry with you wherever you go without breaking your back or the bank.