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Falling notebook PC prices have bottomed out thanks to a shortage of LCD screens, according to several major vendors. The going rate for a mobile PC has fallen steadily over the last two-years, but looks set to plateau or even rise in the near future. Manufacturers agree the LCD shortage will impact notebook pricing, but can not yet predict how dramatic the effect of the supply of screens drying up will be. Eric Brennan, Compaq manager of new product marketing for mobiles, commented on price: "I won't say it will definitely go up, but they will not be going down," according to online news source Infoworld. This is not the first time this problem has plagued the sector, with the screen manufacturing process remaining at the crux of the problem. Suppliers are at the mercy of the LCD market. LCD makers are pushing larger screens with higher profit margins on notebook vendors. They can get away with this due to soaring demand for large flat-panel displays for desktops and the knock-on effects of the Asian crisis. But vendors are not sure they can shift 14 and 15in screens that add weight, size and price to these mobile products. "[Average selling prices] will not go down like they did last year because of the LCD supply and demand," said Tim Peters, Dell general manager of worldwide marketing for Latitude notebooks. "As a result, the value proposition as compared to desktops won't be as great." ®

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