I have been reading an interesting rumor about the Netbook market. It says that Asus and Acer are delaying netbook launches until 2010. The netbooks in question are Acer's upcoming Dual boot (XP and Android) offering and Asus' Android based model.
One of the reasons, the rumor goes on to say, is that Intel delayed Pinetrail until next year. The Acer delay is also being linked to supposed research showing a dual boot netbook is not something that will not work in the market just yet (I could have told you that). I would have thought that lesson would have been learned after the initial Linux based launches.
I wanted to know if there was any credit to the rumor so I contacted someone I know at Asus and asked directly. The response was interesting but not truly conclusive.
"I can say that at this time that the only model we have talked about is the 11-inch. When we have new models to talk about -- and we will -- we'll make a formal announcement."
To me this would indicate that no new models are planned beyond the mentioned 11-inch model in fact I was told that the launch plans have not changed at all. I do not see a true delay if they are not ready for launch as designed. After all if part of the design includes a CPU with an IGP there is no way to launch without that. If the provider of that part does not have them ready it is not a conscious delay. The rumors that are going around would seem to indicate that Asus is not launching them and making the conscious decision to wait, not that they are being forced to wait due to a lack of parts.
Of course the root of this is whether or not Intel is actually delaying the Pinetrail. This has also been plastered around the internet but as far as I can tell there has never been a confirmation from Intel. I took the opurtunity to ask Intel and was told that Pinetrail is still on track for a late 2009 launch.
As for CULVs well Asus feels that while these are new products they are not the same as when the netbook launched. They do not anticipate quite the same buzz or excitement that netbooks generated. They are planning to launch a few CULV based laptops and should be annoucing them soon.
So we have another rumor that does not stand up to the existing facts. Intel says there is no delay planned for Pinetrail, and Asus is saying they do not have any plans to change launch schedules.
As of this writing Acer has not replied to my questions.