Samsung sees jump in portable PC shipments

Buoyed by heavy Netbook demand, company ships 1.9 million portable PCs globally in the first quarter, outperforming overall market, says iSuppli.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
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Samsung is rocketing up the ranks in the portable PC industry, according to the latest stats released Tuesday by iSuppli.

Thanks to hot demand for its Netbooks, the South Korean computer maker shipped 1.9 million mobile PCs (notebooks and Netbooks combined), a 14.6 percent jump from the 1.7 million shipped during the fourth quarter. Those numbers helped Samsung outperform the overall portable PC market, in which shipments declined by 5.4 percent from the prior quarter due to the usual seasonal downturn, noted iSuppli.

Grabbing a 3.9 percent share of the global portable PC business in the first quarter, Samsung rose to seventh place from ninth place among such rivals as Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell, and Apple. The company also enjoyed the second best increase in shipments among the top 10 portable PC makers, second only to Fujitsu, which posted a 17.6 percent gain in shipments. With Samsung now selling mobile PCs in the U.S., the company has also gained a foot in the door of a huge new market.

In hitting the No. 7 spot, Samsung climbed past Apple and Sony, which held the seventh and eight spots in the fourth quarter. But Apple and Samsung were almost neck and neck in the first-quarter rankings, iSuppli said, with only 130,000 shipments splitting the two companies.

"About 50 percent of Samsung's mobile PC shipments in the first quarter were Netbooks," Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst of compute platforms for iSuppli, said in a statement. "Samsung's Netbooks are enjoying strong sales to European telecommunications operators, as European consumers in the first quarter continued to snap up Netbook PCs bundled with mobile broadband contracts."

Samsung's first quarter also outdid the market compared with the same quarter last year. The 1.7 million PCs shipped represented a 95.5 percent leap from the 985,000 units shipped in 2009's first quarter. In contrast, shipments for the overall industry climbed by a still healthy but more modest 42.4 percent, noted iSuppli. However, the industry's growth continues to be robust.

"Corporate and consumer demand for notebook PCs remains strong, as user preferences continue to shift away from desktops and toward mobile computers," Wilkins said. "Notebook shipments in the first quarter hit their second-highest quarterly level since iSuppli began tracking the market."

Thanks to the strong first quarter, iSuppli now expects global shipments for the entire industry to rise by 29.8 percent for the year, up from its prior forecast of 25.5 percent.