The netbook market

I hear that netbook sales have flattened. The pundits blame it on market saturation. I blame it on manufacturers missing the whole point.

I was at a large compute store the other day and all the “netbooks” they had were running full versions of XP and 120 Gig or larger spinning hard drives.  

The netbooks that sold like hotcakes were lean and fast running.  They booted LINUX of flash ROM and had Solid State drives.  Small, but then it’s a flipping netbook! If you need extra space it’s got SD and USB slots.

To summerize, the sale of small laptops is flat.  The netbook market may pick up again when units running Android hit the street.


5 Responses

  1. Actually, sales really took off when they released the XP version with a hard drive. It’s just that they’res only so much market segment that actually wants one. I think what’s really slowing sales is the recent price rise in them – they’re now just shy of a full blown low end laptop. If they can get back to sub 300 dollar machines, they’ll do much better(something that Asus has realized – the next generation machines will range in price from 250 to 700 dollars). The real competition for these devices isn’t laptops, but rather devices like PDAs, and to a lesser extent, Kindles.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to the touch screen version coming out in the next coupla months, but only if it can be had cheap. Otherwise, a touchscreen hack may be in order.

  2. Excellent point. It was the lean and mean, low cost systems that introduced the netbook concept to the market.

    I’m not surprised that sales went up when a more familiar interface became available. You nailed the point I was in too much of hurry to properly make. Most current ‘netbooks’ are just smaller laptops.

    The only touchscreen “netbook” class I’m aware of is the rumored large screen ‘airtouch’ from Apple. That will be a game changer though! It’s a familiar interface, there is already a large base of applications (ok, most of them are crap, but there are some gems in that pile), and an existing fan boy/girl base that will pay the Apple tax for a big screen iPod with WiFi. Amazon already has two book reader apps for that platform, so it will be revenue generator for them, particularlly since it’s more of a multiuse platform than the Kindle.

    I still think Android is going to be a big player in this market, in part because of your observation that netbooks are also competing with Smart Phones (The PDA is dead, long live the Smart Phone). A netbook with the same OS as a Smart Phone leads to some interesting possibilities. The Netbook links to the Smart Phone, provides a better I/O interface (i.e. bigger screen & an actual keyboard) and extended storage space. The Smart Phone provides the on demand Internet connection and your core configuration and data files.

  3. Asus has been hinting about the Touchscreen Eee for awhile now, supposedly going to be released in June, running(get this) Windows 7, a full year before the the OS’s official release.

    Android may be the reason why Billco is rushing to release Windows 7 on a netbook. They’re trying to keep them from getting a toehold in the market.

    • Boots from what state? Sleep, hibernate or fully off? The real qnsteious are around what state it is coming out of when the clock starts running, how compatible it is with what people what to get done and do and what devices it will be delivered on. The beta version of Windows 7 can boot in significantly less than 11 seconds in sleep mode in hibernate my machine took 27 seconds to get to the logon screen, from sleep it was 4 seconds.

  4. Oh, I think you are very correct. The spread of Android to more smart phone platforms and into netbooks should be causing people at Microsoft to look up ulcer symptoms and cures.

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