updated 02:10 pm EDT, Mon August 31, 2009
Netbooks 2X Notebooks
Sales of netbooks are growing twice as quickly as full-sized notebooks, DisplaySearch found today. The small portables grew about 40 percent between the winter and spring this year to account for 38 million PCs, or almost twice as quickly as the already hot 22 percent growth of regular notebooks. Much of the growth comes from Asia, mainland China and Latin America, where the lower prices mean netbooks are often first-time PCs or the least costly option.
The growth is such that netbooks now have over a fifth of the entire portable PC business at 22.2 percent. Such figures might get larger if North American cellular carriers focus more on subsidizing netbooks tied to 3G service, a factor that has been key in Europe as its carriers now sometimes give away netbooks for free with service.
Extra growth would put additional pressure on companies like Apple, which have downplayed netbooks as being too slow and cheaply made.
However, concern exists that the category may be hurt through its own expansion. As netbooks get larger screen sizes, particularly with 11.6-inch models, the cost is more and more likely to overlap with much faster, larger-screened notebooks. Microsoft may also undo the category by its insistence on charging more for Windows 7 on netbooks than it does for XP, either raising the actual system prices or forcing PC makers to absorb some of the cost themselves.