Ultra Mobile Computing devices, including netbooks, UMPCs, Mobile Internet Devices or MIDs currently account for $3.5 billion in sales. But ABI Research expects that number to grow to $27 billiion by 2013.
That number doesn’t look too surprising to me, given the growing popularity of netbooks, which have only been around for a year or so. But ABI does make some other claims that I think need to be taken with a grain of salt. The research firm projects that by 2013 Ultra Mobile Devices running Linux will outnumber Windows products. I think the current trends seem to show the opposite. While many netbook makers looked to Linux as a way to help keep costs down on early devices while providing customers a highly customized user experience, many companies that started out offering only Linux netbooks, like Asus and Everex, are now offering Windows options as well.
I’m not saying that Linux won’t overtake Windows in the hearts and minds of netbook makers and netbook buyers in a few years. I’m just saying I have no idea if this will happpen or not and I think it’s hard to make such a claim today. Desktop Linux is getting easier and easier to use, and netbook and laptop makers are certainly beginning to adopt it as an option. But it will take heavier consumer demand to really make Linux the more popular option for manufacturers.
It’s also worth noting that Microsoft has taken steps to offer Windows XP licenses to netbook makers for extraordinarily deep discounts.
ABI Research also imagines that Intel’s x86 processors like the Intel Atom CPU that’s currently available, will dominate the UMD market in 2013.