Netbooks will pass notebooks says Qualcomm's CEO Jacobs
By Ian King and Hugo Miller, Bloomberg
April 6, 2009, 10:45 am TWN
SAN FRANCISCO -- Qualcomm Inc. Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs said the market for so-called netbook computers may grow bigger than notebooks.
Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of semiconductors that run mobile phones, is trying make inroads into Intel Corp.'s dominance in chips for netbooks, scaled-down laptops designed for surfing the Web and other basic functions.
"It could be substantially larger than the existing notebook market," Jacobs said in an interview during the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas. "When you get down to those lower price points, your addressable market expands very quickly."
Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor will debut in netbooks before this year's holiday shopping season, Jacobs said. Netbooks, which can cost as little as US$200, became the fastest- growing part of the personal-computer market last year and will almost double this year, according to Gartner Inc.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon uses less power than Intel's Atom product — currently the basis of almost all netbooks sold — and will allow the devices to run on one battery charge for an entire day, Jacobs said.
Some 15 manufacturers, including Acer Inc., Toshiba Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co., have said they are working on products based on Snapdragon, he said.
Jacobs declined to give a specific time frame for his prediction about the ascendancy of the netbook, except to say it could happen "relatively quickly."
Netbooks working on Qualcomm chips will run versions of the Linux operating system, Jacobs said. Earlier attempts to put Linux on the machines failed to catch on because the free software tried to mimic Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating systems. New ones that look more like Apple Inc.'s iPhone software will be more successful, he said.
About 12 million netbooks were sold last year, while the total laptop market was 143 million units, according to Gartner.
Qualcomm, based in San Diego, dropped 12 cents to US$41.19 at 4:00 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock has gained 15 percent this year.