Mobile momentum

Mobile momentum

Winning the overall PC popularity contest, the notebook computer is on a tear. From Intel's launch of its new upgraded Centrino platform through to sleeker designs, ultraportability and widescreen viewing, there's no shortage of features and functionality.

IDC senior hardware analyst, Liam Gunson, said demand for portable PCs continued to rise in the first quarter of the year, with shipments growing 16.1 per cent sequentially and 32.3 per cent year-on-year. Notebooks continued to drive the overall market during the quarter, providing all year-on-year growth as desktop shipments contracted 1.5 per cent.

Gunson said consumer notebooks experienced the strongest take-up, expanding 20 per cent in Q1 2007 sequentially and by 34.8 per cent year-on-year. The portable form factor also continued to garner attention in the commercial markets and represented 45.4 per cent of the combined desktop and notebook space in Q1. This compared with 42.5 per cent in Q4 2006.

"While desktops maintain a strong foothold in many parts of the commercial space, further developments in mobility and connectivity, cost, and security, will continue to seed further demand for notebooks in this area," Gunson said. "The rollout of Vista generated demand and the promotions around PCs also pushed notebook sales higher, largely in the consumer space."

Corporate users are also showing interest. Along with the migration from desktops to notebooks, Gunson said users were assessing the broader alternatives to desktops, such as thin clients and dumb terminals.

The Rosa factor
But there's a bigger talking point: The rollout of Centrino Pro, originally codenamed Santa Rosa. Centrino Pro is the mobile version of Intel's professional desktop platform, V Pro. It delivers improvements to the processor, chipset and wireless components, resulting in speedier notebooks with longer battery life and improved power and cooling.

"Santa Rosa is an interesting one to watch, particularly in the area of remote management and support," Gunson said. "We are now getting this functionality on the notebook side like we have on the desktop side." The new mobile platform is generating excitement amongst channel partners because it provides another reason why companies can feel at ease when migrating to notebooks.

Manufacturers are already getting their Santa Rosa battle plans in order. Lenovo recently launched three machines locally based on the new platform. Notebook portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific, Nigel Gore, said Centrino Pro mobile and Centrino Duo technology delivered significant enhancements in the areas of portability, connectivity, usability, security and reliability.

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