May 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm
Netbooks have grown at an explosive pace since they were introduced to the market back in the middle of 2007. It has been one of the few segments in the computer world that continues to show strong growth in light of a global recession. A big part of a netbooks attraction has been its low cost and, whilst not as powerful as laptops, many find that they can do most day-to-day tasks on these diminutive devices.
However, according to iSuppli, growth in netbooks will inevitably decline as economic conditions improve. iSuppli forecasts that global shipment growth will be 39.6 percent in 2010, eventually falling to 13.1 percent by 2013. Despite the fall-off, these are still impressive numbers and it’s hard to see the big netbook vendors losing sleep over this. These estimates follow shipment growth of 2,424 percent in 2008 and forecast 2009 growth of 68.5 percent.
“People are not buying netbooks because they are truly desirable platforms, but rather because as low-cost PCs, they offer a good mix of features at an acceptable price point,” said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms, for iSuppli. I’m not sure I agree with this. The likes of Asus with its Seashell 1008HA and Samsung with its N310 netbook are trying to change this perception on desirability and that will only continue in the future.
Also, as technology gets better, netbook performance can only increase. Higher-resolution screens, better HD video support, and 3D graphics are just three areas where I see netbook technology improving in coming years. More than anything, people will end up substituting notebook/laptop purchases as netbooks get better. Obviously, this is as long as the balance between price and performance is maintained.