Chicago (IL) – You, in this case, would represent the consumer as analysts expect mini-notebooks to become the next gold mine for system builders. Promising unmatched portability, an attractive form factor and just enough computing power to handle most tasks, mini-notebooks are shaping up to become the next gadget category to pay close attention to. Of course, for the mass market effect to kick in, vendors will have to convince buyers of the advantages of these new products first – and invest into innovative engineering, product design and a set of killer features.
The latest study that indicates a successful future for mini-notebooks comes from the research firm Gartner, which believes that the category will see shipments of 5.2 million units this year and 8 million in 2009. By 2012, more than 50 million mini-notebooks could be shipped every year. While 5.2 million units this year compares to more than 80 million notebooks overall, mini-notebooks are already shipping in substantial numbers that are large enough to attract the interest of virtually any computer manufacturer. Despite the fact that mini-notebooks so far have especially targeted the education market, mainstream buyers will account for the lion’s share of the segment. Gartner estimates that 70% of all mini notebooks will be purchased by consumers.
According to the research firm, early adopters in the consumer market include first-time buyers who seek a low-cost introductory PC and experienced users who need a low-cost second or third PC for themselves or a relative. Business sales of mini-notebooks are not significant at this time. However, mini-notebooks could expand to corporate users in 2012, if their performance is increased and they prove useful for business-oriented tasks, Gartner said.
"For consumer mini-notebooks to succeed, they need to be positioned differently than standard notebooks, and PC vendors will need to decide if the existing channels to market are appropriate and possibly look for new channels, such as telecom, gadget shops and so on," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. "PC vendors will have to convince retailers to take on those products, as they are still emerging products and potentially present some risk from an inventory point of view."