The PC market may or may not have bottomed out, but either way Intel has high hopes for this year. They are predicting a surge in sales of their Classmate PC, competitor to the XO laptop. After selling only around 700,000 units in 2008, a large enough number in its own right, Intel claims that this year they will churn out over two million of the sub-laptops in 2009.
The chipmaker claims that they are pushing into rural China and other emerging markets in Europe and Southeast Asia, which is where the two million figure primarily comes from. They are doing little to alleviate concerns from netbook vendors that they will erode the netbook market with their own product, aside from claiming that is not their goal. With Intel currently fabbing chipsets, boards, CPUs, GPUs and pretty much every other component found in both netbooks and notebooks, they are in a very interesting position.
The Classmate PC's goal, of course, is not market share – at least not according to Intel. It, along with the XO laptop and the OLPC project, is aimed at getting millions of laptops into the hands of children who have never had the chance to do such before. Still, that doesn't mean Intel won't be able to leverage their position as one of the very few hardware providers for such a market to their advantage.