updated 12:35 pm EST, Fri January 30, 2009
ABI on Netbook as Main PC
Only about a tenth of computer buyers would consider using netbooks as their main systems, ABI Research says in a new study. About 11 percent of Americans asked about the devices say they would use one of the small but low-cost portables as their only or primary computer while majority at 79 percent only consider a netbook a companion device to either a main desktop or regular notebook. The more difficult controls and lower performance are seen as sufficiently high-enough barriers that they preclude many from considering netbooks as more than occasional PCs.
"While their low price does cause some consumers to view netbooks as a replacement for a laptop given the current economic conditions, the majority view a netbook as being a secondary device," ABI principal analyst Philip Solis says.
The findings aren't conclusive but suggest netbooks are less likely to control the PC market than expected. IDC statistics put netbooks at 7 percent of all PC sales for 2008 but were unable to conclude whether the systems were taking the place of normal notebooks or just supplementing existing models.
While early netbook pioneers like Acer and ASUS have championed netbooks, more traditional PC builders like Apple and Dell have said that most current designs are too uncomfortable or otherwise unsatisfactory; during Apple's latest financial conference call, COO Tim Cook described netbooks as having "cramped" input and being "much less powerful" than users would actually be willing to use. The Mac creator has said it might only enter netbooks if the field becomes more established.