Acer forecasts huge sales gains in laptops, desktops

Acer Inc. will make big gains sales gains this year in both desktop and laptop PCs, the company's chairman said.

The company, which leaped into the number three spot in the global PC business during the first quarter of this year, expects first half shipments of desktop PCs to grow 50 percent year-on-year in the first half, said J.T. Wang, Acer's chairman, in an interview Thursday.

"The first quarter was slow, but the second quarter has been very encouraging," the executive said.

In laptops, Acer's biggest product, Wang expects to see a sharp lift-off in consumer notebook shipments.

He forecast consumer laptop PC shipments to rise 50 percent to 70 percent year-over-year in 2007, mainly after its redesigned Aspire line of notebook PCs launches later this year. Next year, sales of the laptop will top 10 million units, he said.

Consumer notebooks make up about a third of Acer's total notebook PC sales.

Acer worked with a design subsidiary of BMW AG on its latest revamp of the Aspire, its mass market consumer notebook PC. The upgrade is aimed at putting a touch of fashion on a consumer laptop without increasing its price.

The sleek, curvy black laptop will be available globally in June, armed with Intel Corp.'s latest Santa Rosa set of chips, which includes upgrades of its notebook microprocessors and wireless technology. The Aspire is also packed with multimedia features, including Dolby surround sound, an HDMI slot, and more. Eventually, Acer plans to offer dozens of versions of the Aspire for different market segments, and with a range of features including built in HD DVD players, 17-inch screens and a choice of microprocessors and other components.

Acer passed Lenovo Group Ltd. to become the world's third largest PC vendor in the first quarter. The company's share of the global PC market rose to 6.8 percent in the first quarter, up a blistering 46.1 percent over the same three months last year, according to figures from market research company Gartner Inc. Lenovo's share was 6.3 percent, dropping it to fourth place.

During the company's first quarter investor conference last week, Acer executives said the company would increase PC shipments by 30 percent to 40 percent year-on-year in 2007.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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