Wednesday, November 05, 2008

So Where Do NetBooks Fit In?

The Netbook is becoming the portable device for many. It is ultraportable, an inexpensive laptop designed for Web browsing and light tasks. Now Hewlett Packard (HP) has unveiled its new mini notebook in its move to cash in on this fastest growing PC category.

HP's sleek new Mini 1000, costs around $400, uses Intel Corp's Atom processor, and signals a potential price war in the netbook market. Netbooks are still only a fraction of the 300 million PC market but their growing popularity could lead to further market changes with smaller players such as Acer gaining ground on HP and Dell. Analysts predict that 10.8 million netbooks will ship in 2008, and jump to 20.8 million in 2009.

The target market for the netbook is still undefined with education being one of the obvious areas but with the consumer market being less certain. Will users use the notebook for travel and a larger laptop or desktop for heavier usage? What is certain is that the laptop is shrinking and the potential of the notebook is growing. It would be logical for the notebook to merge with the current ereaders and offer a portable device between the mobile and the laptop.

What is clear is that single dimensional devices such as the current ereaders have another competitor in the market and one that will have more appeal to a wider audience. Interestingly the notebook looks certain to compete head to head with the ereader in the educational space.

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