Report: Netbooks the next big portable thing

  • Chicago (IL) - Netbooks, those stripped down cousins of laptop computers, could well be the personal computer companion of millions going forward. This idea is being put forth by ABI Research, based upon data forecasts of upcoming netbook sales.

    ABI Research says it expects worldwide shipments of netbooks to reach 35 million units this year, rising to an estimated 139 million by 2013. The firm believes "a confluence of social and technological factors has created a kind of perfect storm that will lead to a market explosion" during this period of time - making netbooks a common piece of computing equipment for many.

    "PDA's began our reliance on instant accessible data while traveling," said ABI's Kevin Burden. "When PDA functionality converged with cellular voice, smartphones became the new darling of mobile professional technology that many expected to evolve into the hub for all data and communication needs for traveling professionals."

    Burden added that, given the knowledge gained about smartphones and the uninspired record of UMPCs, the "market remains open for new device types." The netbook, with its light-weight, medium-sized form factor and low-cost processors, has reportedly lead to a more optimal price point for consumers.