The number of notebook computers with embedded wireless connectivity will skyrocket in the next five years, reports Strategy Analytics, Inc., a global research and consulting firm with its U.S. base in Boston. Only 24 percent of notebook PCs sold worldwide this year have embedded WLAN, but that number is expected to jump to 90 percent by 2008.
''An industry-wide technology push from Cisco, Intel, Intersil and other enabling technology vendors will be one critical driver of WLAN notebook PC sales,'' says Neil Mawston, senior analyst in the Global Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics. ''Notebook vendors' desperation to stem average selling price declines in the next three years will be the other key catalyst.''
North America, concludes the report, will be the biggest market for these wireless-enabled notebooks for at least the next five years. Toshiba Inc., IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. are best positioned to capitalize on the growing market, according to Strategy Analytics analysts.
''WLAN, and its potential to enable relatively simple, wire-free Internet, Intranet and remote data access, will be a key driver of new and replacement notebook PC sales through 2008,'' says David Kerr, vice president of the Global Wireless Practice at Strategy Analytics. ''Security concerns will, of course, remain a key issue, particularly in the on-campus enterprise segment. However, security concerns will inhibit wireless data usage rather than actual notebook sales, as powerful chip and PC vendors look to force WLAN connectivity into the enterprise channel.''