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However, manufacturers still hurting, thanks to lower profit margins

Netbooks have topped the sales charts and taken the industry by storm.  They have shaken up the plans of microprocessor makers like Intel, forcing them to focus on their mobile processors.  They have also catapulted other chipmakers like VIA into serious competitors in the consumer CPU industry. 

While some are embracing the change, many computer makers are fearful of it, as the cheaper notebooks have come with lower profit margins.  A few such as AMD and Apple Corp. have chosen to ignore it almost completely.

After initial reports showed that netbooks and bargain notebooks might be driving global PC sales, new reports from a competitive market research firm indicates this is indeed the case.  Research firm Gartner released the preliminary version of its report on PC sales in the third quarter of 2008.  It appears, according to the new report that worldwide netbooks have helped to save sales in the midst of a global economic crisis.  Worldwide sales soared to 80.6 million units in Q3, up 15 percent from Q3 of last year.

One thing that's clear according to Gartner is that netbooks are leading the increase in sales. Gartner PC analyst Mika Kitagawa says that it is less clear, though, whether sales are being driven by new models or by cannibalized older models that have seen their prices slashed.

The U.S. sales outlook was not so rosy.  It rose just 4.8 percent, less than in previous years.  Mr. Kitagawa believes that even the low prices were not enough to boost consumer confidence in the troubled market.  Worldwide Europe, the Middle East, and Africa saw their shipments grow 5 times the growth seen in America, allowing them to reach 28.8 million units.

ASUS and Acer who both led the way with their netbook designs saw the strongest growth of any PC company.  Acer is now the top netbook vendor, kicking Hewlett-Packard out of the top spot.  Acer was in a solid third in total sales, shipping 10 million units, or roughly 12.5 percent of the world market, up 47 percent from the year before.

ASUS's exact growth was not announced in the preliminary version of the report, but Mr. Kitagawa says it will be in triple digits.  While ASUS has yet to crack the top five in total sales, its getting close.

While HP remains king worldwide, in the U.S. Dell is top dog with 29.5 percent of shipments.  HP is close behind with 25.7 percent.  Apple grew a whopping 30 percent to seize a 9.5 percent share and the third spot in sales.  Acer saw 11.2 percent U.S. growth, above average, and took a 9 percent share of the total market.  Toshiba held steady in fifth with a 5.6 percent market share.

With the rising popularity of netbooks, many are wondering whether people will continue to flock to Apple's pricey laptops, which on average cost about twice the cost of a Vista computer



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Why a Netbook?
By Bateluer on 10/15/2008 11:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
I had to prep a few hundred EEEPCs for some customers, and I really don't know why they are selling as well as they are. The screen is too small for anything practical. The keyboard is too small for any practical typing, unless you've yet to hit puberty. The processing power is too weak for any video other than Youtube.

What are people using these things for? Expensive novelties?




RE: Why a Netbook?
By JasonMick (blog) on 10/15/2008 11:42:16 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
The processing power is too weak for any video other than Youtube.


There's plenty of netbooks that can play DVDs just fine with a simple USB external drive. For example the MSI plays DVDs great with an external drive.

These things have plenty of processing power. Sure it can't do high-def, but thats not exactly what everyone is looking for.

quote:
The keyboard is too small for any practical typing, unless you've yet to hit puberty.


I haven't heard many complaints from Wind/EeePC owners about the keyboard.

quote:
Expensive novelties?


What?? These things are way cheaper then other notebooks, and they can handle all your basic browsing, word processing, and multimedia needs.

You seem to have an irrational hatred for netbooks, and there seems to be a large number of people who disagree with you.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By Bateluer on 10/15/2008 12:01:17 PM , Rating: 3
I don't have an irrational fear of netbooks. I was simply pointing out that 300+ USD is expensive for a novelty. The nicer eeePCs carry much higher price tags, that rival those of more traditional notebooks, which boast far better specs and performance.

Isn't part of the allure of a netbook is mobility, so wouldn't carrying around an external DVD drive defeat that purpose?


RE: Why a Netbook?
By xsilver on 10/15/2008 12:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
I think the problem is that you're understating the public's need for something simple.

Most people nowadays only need laptops to
1) surf the web
2) view multimedia
3) occasional word processing

Anything more than this and it can be considered frivolous to the user; more power? for what? hi def? most plebs cant tell the difference between dvd and BR. small keyboard? no one is trying to break 60 words a minute on these things.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By Oregonian2 on 10/15/2008 2:00:19 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, my wife WANTS one, and I'm still waiting for a 6-cell wind to become available (now that red has been announced, we're waiting for that version). She mostly wants to do word processing with it, and it should be fine for that (she writes novels). And it'll fit in her purse (her big one anyway). :-) If one just wanted to watch DVDs, there are portable DVD players for that. She may use it for Skype, email, and the like as well.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By othercents on 10/15/2008 6:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
You also have manufacturing companies getting them to replace terminals around the office. Small one piece unit that can run their proprietary software for inventory control. I would even imagine that police cars can replace the laptops they currently use with netbooks and so can delivery trucks. Anything that runs a static program that would never surf the web or run anything else can use these netbooks.

Granted I just told a friend of mine that these computers are 4x slower than your average C2D laptop, but it really depends on what they are going to use it for. This is just like a cell phone. Should everyone get an iPhone? No some people need just the phone and some need a Blackberry. Depends on the need.

Other


RE: Why a Netbook?
By amanojaku on 10/15/2008 12:18:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't want/need one, but I can think of a use case. It's better than using your iPhone (or similarly tiny cell phone) for web surfing if you don't want to boot up a large PC or laptop. Movie watching with friends is cool if you can whip out a wireless netbook to browse IMBD, Wikipedia, etc... I use a wireless keyboard and mouse on the PC attached to my TV, but I have to switch inputs.

Oh, and there's instant messenger, if you don't have a text message plan on your cell.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By gmyx on 10/15/2008 1:05:13 PM , Rating: 3
Well, from my point of view as a user of the Wind U100 it is very useful. Do can easily do some HTML coding, use OpenOffice to write stuff , browse the web, watch streaming videos (the resolutions make this look great), e-mail. Basically anything but gaming and processor intensive apps.

The form factor really shines in more compact places: you don't bump others using this thing.

The keyboard is a good size and it functions well. I really don't have any complaints except for the stupid mouse driver bring the wrong driver!

To claim it's a novelty is, in my opinion, naive. It does what it's intended to do: a good secondary machine with everyday processor friendlily tasks.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By Samus on 10/15/2008 2:09:42 PM , Rating: 2
You should realize the Atom is completely underpowered. It's about the same performance as the original netbook processor, the Celeron M.

The real future of the near-future netbook lies with the Via C7M. It's even powerful enough to run Vista, and has a negligible power envelope compared to the Atom because the chipset uses far less power and the 945G uses somewhere like 26 watts.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By Oregonian2 on 10/15/2008 5:43:26 PM , Rating: 2
In another thread I had looked up a heavy (about a full pound) lithium notebook battery that was 63 W-H (and $140 at a selling website). The 6-cell MSI Wind battery adds 0.3 pounds over the 3-cell one (2.6 vs 2.3), meaning the whole 6-cell battery is probably 0.6 pounds -- about two thirds that of the Leveno battery.

What I'm getting at is that the power you list for the 945G means is that the 6-cell Wind's battery should last only about 1.5 hours powering ONLY the 945G by itself -- while reports say that it actually runs the whole thing including display, hard disk, CPU, AND the 945G for about 5 hours (rated 6 hours I think).

It's therefore been demonstrated that the 945G part clearly is taking a lot less power than you quote when used in this application.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By FITCamaro on 10/15/2008 4:48:22 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. I like the price of netbooks, but that's about it. I need a bigger screen than 9-10". I recently got a new laptop for $600 which isn't much more than the most expensive netbooks. And instead of getting a low power netbook that can't do anything I got a laptop with 2GHz Turion X2, 3GB of RAM, 160GB HD, HD3200, and a Blu-ray drive with HDMI out. So I can play older games, watch Blu-ray movies, and actually type things without fighting myself for screen space.


RE: Why a Netbook?
By diego10arg on 10/15/2008 6:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
How much does it weights? What screen size does it have?

I think, again, that a common notebook belongs to a different market.
Yet I'd love for an netbook with H264 acceleration capability and HDMI output with 160Gb. (It's my desire, not yours :P)


RE: Why a Netbook?
By ineedaname on 10/15/2008 11:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
Most people (including myself) that I've seen get a netbook, get it for the portability. They just want something small they can take around to surf or type up notes. They're not using it to replace their main computer or use it for hours on end. In this scenario you don't mind the screen or processing power. It has enough CPU power to do the basic things most people do on a computer. Ie surf, music, vids, type, skype and gps for me.

The 7" eeepc's keyboard is small but the Acer A1 and other 8.9" and above netbooks seem to have decently sized keyboards. The A1 cost me $315 which is still considerably less than a 13" notebook. I wouldn't consider it a novelty. I personally love using my netbook to take notes in class.


Hold on a second...
By therealnickdanger on 10/15/2008 11:38:53 AM , Rating: 2
Are you saying that cheaper products sell better than expensive ones? OH MY SCIENCE! Even during the good state of our economy last Christmas, the big sellers in notebooks were the sub-$500 units. The economy has little to do with these purchases. How do you explain Apple's continuing growth with their expensive notebooks?

It's funny, the results of this push for better/faster/smaller has finally arrived and it is wreaking havoc on the market. People are starting to wake up to the fact that you hardly need much performance to do most activities on a PC.




RE: Hold on a second...
By Pirks on 10/15/2008 2:11:24 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
How do you explain Apple's continuing growth with their expensive notebooks?
People started to understand that they don't need additional MHz/GHz/Mbytes/Mbits/Gigashmucks/etc/etc from their computers. They started to think about non-traditional things hardly understandable by the PC industry and DT readers/enthusiasts/Linux users/Unix gurus/etc - things such as comfort, aestetics, portability, weight, looks, size, thickness, user interface and so on.

Apple is nothing special, they just traditionally were emphasizing these features when designing their machines, just like Lexus and some other premium brands like Miele. Hence their recent growth.

It's actually very obvious stuff, which gets downrated to -1 in no time on this forum full of self-assembled Wintel PC/Windows freaks. Doesn't matter, I know truth hurts, I don't blame downraters. I feel sorry for them actually.

I'm not going to switch from my self assembled PCs and Dell/Gateway notebooks to Macs because I don't value comfort, I value power, features and price, but unlike most DT readers and PC/Windows/Linux freaks/enthusiasts I do recognize the needs of simple Joe Sixpack users.

See, it's all very very simple ;-)


RE: Hold on a second...
By Yames on 10/15/2008 4:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
Just like Mac freaks.


RE: Hold on a second...
By Pirks on 10/15/2008 6:01:09 PM , Rating: 2
Existence of a few Mac freaks does not explain constant growth of the Mac sales. My theory does.


RE: Hold on a second...
By robinthakur on 10/17/2008 8:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
Nice sensible post. The hatred felt by the techie crowd towards Mac's, especially now the platform is growing and the iPhone is huge is really reaching fever pitch.

The public have been educated by all PR (not just Mac PR) to value the aethetic qualities in all their purchases which you've pointed out and most importantly the concept that good design is worth paying extra for! Whilst fast uber performance is important to a tiny minority of users, it doesn't really rate for the majority of buyers (I would say)

I used to self build, but then got into Home cinema and whilst I have built my own HTPC, the priorities were a fanless design, silent operation and decent looking enough to be able to keep in my living room in plain view of everyone. And for the interface to be reliable and easy to use. These are the features associated with a home appliance rather than a PC, and Computers are starting to cross over to this latter phase now that the internet is so ubiquitous and so necessary for alot of people.


Netbook=cool
By chhimp on 10/16/2008 7:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have the lenovo s10. It is an awesome lightweight portable PC. It runs XP faster than my notebook running vista. I carry it to school because it weights 2.5lbs and I am typing on it right now. MS office Ultimate works great and I am leaving my Dell XPS M1330 and Dell Inspiron 1501 at home. Carrying three textbooks and a netbook is the future everyone. Own one and you will see why.




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