Netbooks Stay Hot, But For How Long?
Pity the folks who paid $450 for a notebook with an 8.5-inch screen and no Windows XP just a few months ago when choices in the fast-growing netbook category were still thin.
It's an entirely different market now that every major laptop manufacturer has a miniature horse in the race. Acer, HP, Dell, Gateway, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Lenovo are all in hot competition to provide cost-conscious consumers with affordable netbooks, which analysts expect to log an average price of about $299 this holiday season. Even Apple, whose execs had previously dismissed the idea of netbooks on the basis of their limited functionality, is rumored to be preparing its own version within six to nine months.
The category is a 2009 phenomenon, evolving quickly as consumers become familiar with the pros and cons of small form factors.
They're drawn to the price, of course, and the idea they can ease the gridlock at the family computer with an extra net-surfer or two for the kids. For kids who've grown up using full-featured notebook computers, however, the limitations of netbooks can get frustrating fast. Netbooks aren't the best gaming, video or photo-editing devices.