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Q1 laptop demand dips below vendor expectations?

Buyers said to be awaiting Core Duo price cuts

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Demand for new notebooks slumped this quarter, reports coming out of Taiwan's contract manufacturing industry suggest, though at this stage it's unclear whether buyers are holding off from making purchases while they wait for Windows Vista, lower dual-core system prices or both.

Sources cited by DigiTimes claim major vendors have found themselves with unsold laptops piling up as sales - traditionally down in Q1 in any case - have fallen below expectations. That, in turn, has led to lower demand for components going forward.

The moles suggest punters are waiting for more third-generation 'Napa' Centrino Duo systems to be made available and for those already on the market to come down in price. Intel is believed to have lined up Core Duo price cuts for late May, which may boost end-user demand in Q2.

But that may still leave some buyers unwilling to fork out until Windows Vista ships, later this year. Intel also has its next-generation architecture mobile CPU, 'Merom', roadmapped for a Q4 debut - slap bang in the Vista launch timeframe. Unlike today's Core Duos, Merom will support 64-bit processing. However, the next generation of Centrino, codenamed 'Santa Rosa', isn't due until H1 2007.

It's claimed the over-stock has been easing through the quarter, better placing them to deal with demand levels through April and early May ahead of the anticipated price cuts. ®

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