Japan earthquake: Notebook players concerned about hardware supplies

Taiwan-based notebook makers, after evaluating the damage caused by Japan’s earthquake on their upstream supply chain, pointed out that supplies of notebook battery cells and MLCCs were both affected slightly, and makers will need to start planning measures to handle rising prices for components such as DRAM, according to sources from notebook makers.

In addition to upstream components, PC demand from Japan, which is about 13-15 million units each year, may also be affected by the earthquake and notebook makers are currently in negotiations with their clients about their shipment schedules for Japan, and will consider making some adjustments.

However, notebook production is unlikely to see any major delays since most makers had already prepared a safe level of inventory, but the unclear information from Japan has already caused several players in rush to stockpile more inventory causing DRAM spot prices to rise over 5% on March 14, noted the sources, adding that the same situation may also happen to other components.

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Acer, Asustek Computer and Lenovo will launch new ultra-thin notebooks beginning the second quarter of 2011

Brand notebook vendors Acer, Asustek Computer and Lenovo will launch new ultra-thin notebooks beginning the second quarter of 2011 with product performance and prices more competitive than Apple’s MacBook Air, according to industry sources.

In the second quarter, Acer is expected to release the new generation of its Timeline notebooks outsourced to Wistron, while Asustek will continue to launch its U-series slim models focusing on 13- to 14-inch sizes which will be manufactured by Pegatron Technology, indicated the sources.

Lenovo is expected to launch new ultra-thin models under its IdeaPad lineup in the third quarter with Pegatron as its production partner, said the sources.

Prices of the new slim notebooks launched by the three vendors are likely to be set below US$1,000, in order to avoid the experience of Dell’s ill-fated Adamo lineup, which carried a unit price of over US$2,000 when launched.

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