Which Notebooks Will Be Hot 12" Or 13"?
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Several vendors are rolling out a new generation of notebooks. But what is not known is which size will be the mst popular.

With Sony, Apple and Dell rolling out 13.3-inch notebooks, some notebook makers are optimistic over demand for the segment while others are more cautious and are opting for 12-inch models.

Some notebook makers indicated 13.3-inch notebooks, which used to be considered high-end models, have growth potential as the larger-screens are more comfortable and panel makers may lower prices for panels for the segment.

Although 13.3-inch panels are mostly produced at LCD plants less advanced than fifth-generation (5G) and are priced higher than 14.1- or 15.4-inch panels, notebook makers expect panel makers to start producing 13.3-inch panels using 5G plants amid increasing demand for small- to medium-size panels, which are produced at less advanced plants too.

With a higher production efficiency (using a more advanced plant to produce 13.3-inch panels), panel makers would be better able to lower prices for the segment, sources said. The notebook makers said AU Optronics (AUO) may be the first to use 5G production for 13.3-inch panels.

On the other hand, other notebook makers hold that 12-inch notebooks, as pushed by vendors including Acer and Hewlett-Packard (HP), are now seeing stronger demand than that of 13.3-inch notebooks and panel makers now earn more out of production of 12-inch panels than 13.3-inch panels.

Panel makers expect the two segments to account for 9-10% of overall shipments of notebook panels in 2007.