Notebook shortages expected

Notebook shortages expected

Increased demand for notebooks with large displays and bigger hard drives will lead to product shortages this year, with shortfalls continuing into early 1999, according to analyst reports.

As corporate buyers begin to transition to Intel Pentium II technology on notebooks, LCD and hard drive suppliers will be unable to meet demand, according to Randal Giusto, director of mobile technology research at International Data Corp (IDC).

"If you're one of the vendors who has not locked up panel supplies, you will have a big problem," Giusto said.

The limited supply of 13.3in and 14.1in displays is exacer-bated by vendors that are incor-porating high-end features such as the latest processors, larger screens, and more storage throughout product lines. Although the market is shifting to bigger screens, the panel manufacturers haven't shifted production.

"There will be shortages the rest of this year and the first part of next year," Giusto said.

Mobile 2.5in hard drive shortages are also looming for the early part of 1999, according to both IDC and DiskTrends, a Californian research company.

"The technology is leading-edge and there are two suppliers [IBM and Toshiba] with at least 80 per cent of the market," said Bob Katzive, a vice president at DiskTrends.

Both IBM and Toshiba claim not to favour their own notebook divisions and give all notebook vendors equal access to product supplies, Katzive said.

Pain and delay

"If that's the case, everybody will feel the pain to some degree. The most logical conclusion is to expect some models' delays in procurement," Katzive said.

On prices, Giusto said he believes 1999 will see notebooks priced less than $US1500 from mainstream suppliers. "Up until now those prices have been only for end-of-life products," Giusto said.

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