Netbook parts scarce claim analysts; Atom overstocked argue others

The netbook market used to be simple.  Small screen, Atom N270 under the hood, slap on a budget tag and cross your fingers.  Now, things are getting far more complex: more processor options from different manufacturers, plus more screen sizes than ever expected.  According to DRAMeXchange, components and parts supplies for netbooks are sufficient to only meet 50 to 70-percent of market demand, leading vendors to consider pushing up prices.After the cut: is Atom overstocked, or in short-supply?

Particularly scarce are processors, LED parts and network ICs, according to the report, with supplies not expected to level out until the latter half of June.  Until then, IC vendors are supposedly planning to increase Atom and VIA C7-M prices by 5 to 10-percent in May, with DRAM modules seeing even bigger increases of 20 to 30-percent.

However, market sources are also reporting that demand for Intel Atom chips is, perversely, decreasing, faced with competition not only from VIA and ARM chips but Intel's own CULV processor range.  Buyers are also believed to be holding off from the current netbook range, expecting a next-gen Atom CPU in the second half of 2009.  Cheaper notebooks, prices discounted in the face of the current economic situation, are also putting up a fight, and Intel are rumored to be looking to second-tier and Chinese vendors to clear its inventory.