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Netbooks: A bit popular

Now a fifth of total notebook sales

If you have a desktop or notebook computer and are aged between 25 and 55, there's nearly a one in five chance you have already bought a netbook.

According to a PriceGrabber survey, netbook users overwhelmingly own desktop PCs (91 per cent) and a notebook (87 per cent) and PriceGrabber's report writers think this is because the three systems complement each other and are used for different things. They don't mention the possibility of gadget-hungry geeks buying the latest stuff for the sake of it.

The report doesn't look into the correlation between smartphone and netbook ownership. It's probably high, leading to a 4-way data synchronisation problem.

Netbook holdouts are happy enough with their notebook and don't like the limited battery life, processing power, memory and storage capacity of netbooks. They want to do more with a portable computer than just Wi-Fi web browsing and email.

The survey report says that one per cent of mobile computer users purchased netbooks in July last year and this had risen to 19 per cent in December. It attributed much of the rise to Intel's Atom processor which most current Netbook products use. Acer's Aspire One 150-1126 is the most popular netbook on PriceGrabber's site, followed by Lenovo and HP models.

Possibly we are seeing a couple of transitions here; desktop PCs are migrating to a notebook form factor as the desktop's relative processing, memory and storage capacity advantages lessen. A section of the mobile computing notebook PC market is migrating to the netbook because it is lighter, Wi-Fi or mobile phone Internet access is becoming ubiquitous, and it has a better-sized keyboard than smartphones with either pencil-picking slide-out boards or the iPhone with its touch screen keyboard image.

Netbook sales might carry on rising as cash-strapped consumers replace old XP notebooks with new XP netbooks. Linux-pushing netbook vendors, such as Intel with its backing for Moblin, will be looking to kick XP into touch though.

The PriceGrabber report comfirms that solid state drive (SSD) memory for netbooks is a minority interest due to costing more than a hard drive and storing less. Read the survey report here (pdf). ®

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