With tablets quickly becoming the new "must-have" in portable computing, many question the fate of competing devices, such as netbooks. Addressing those concerns at a press conference today, Acer president Scott Lin said that the netbook market will remain strong in the foreseeable future.

With the launch of Intel's new Atom, Lin believes the price-to-performance value of netbooks will continue to entice consumers. Acer's internal testing suggests that the 1.5GHz dual-core N550 is 50% faster than its predecessor while offering a similar TDP and costing about the same.

Acer expects worldwide netbook sales will still total around 40 million units this year, representing 20% of all notebook shipments. Netbooks should maintain that share in 2011, but won't grow because HP and Dell aren't as serious about the segment as they were in previous years, leaving Acer and Asus to prop up the market. Lin apparently refrained from making predictions beyond next year and it remains to be seen whether his near-term estimates are overly optimistic.