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Netbooks to enjoy strong market growth

Posted: 28 Jan 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:netbooks  PDAs  mobile technology  Mobile Internet Devices 

According to ABI Research analysts, a confluence of social and technological factors has created a kind of "perfect storm" that will lead to a market explosion for netbooks over the next few years. The market research firm predicts worldwide shipments of nearly 3.5 crore this year, rising to an estimated 13.9 crore in 2013.

Practice director Kevin Burden describes this evolution: "PDAs began our reliance on instant accessible data while traveling. When PDA functionality converged with cellular voice, smart phones became the new darling of mobile professional technology that many expected to evolve into the hub for all data and communication needs for traveling professionals. Today, with a better understanding for what a smart phone is, is not and may never be, along with a reality check on the usefulness of UMPCs, the market remains open for new device types."

Smart phones did a lot to raise our comfort level with mobile technology as well as our expectations for how connected we could be and how accessible information and data should be while on the road. Enter the netbook with its light-weight, medium-sized form factor and low-cost processors leading to moderate overall price points may finally have "right-sized" mobile technology for productive travels.

While the advent of low-cost, power stingy x86 and ARM processors were the technical keys to netbooks, Burden argues that industry and consumer expectations also needed to evolve before netbooks would meet market acceptance. "In recent years, the industry still expected the smart phones to be more than they turned out to be, and most recently, MIDs [Mobile Internet Devices] were thought to be the next big mobile devices segment, but an unclear usage model continues to confuse the market. So today, netbooks' time has come, and ABI research expects them to enjoy very strong market growth."

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