After nearly a year of meteoric growth and exploding unit sales, the netbook
market—or at least netbook OEMs—may finally be pausing to catch its breath. With Intel
delaying the launch of its next-generation Atom platform (codenamed Pinetrail) until 2010, neither Asus nor Acer are planning new product introductions for the second half of the year.
The pause makes sense given the differences between the current Atom
platform and its successor. Pinetrail will sport an SoC (System-on-a-Chip) flavor of Atom (codenamed Pine View) that will integrate both a graphics core and a single-channel memory controller. This iteration of Atom will remain on 45nm technology, but Intel has promised that the on-die integrations will help lower total netbook power consumption.
A dearth of new products doesn't correlate to a drop in demand for the existing ones, particularly in Acer's case. Those leaky "industry sources" have indicated
that Acer may see sales spike 20-30 percent in the third quarter, thanks to significantly improved European demand. Such a surge wouldn't be a sure sign of economic recovery, but it would at least indicate that the global markets are moving in the right direction.