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The market for netbooks is expected to hit 139 million by 2013

The netbook category is the hottest computer category posting the largest growth numbers in all of the market. Many consumers are choosing netbooks because they offer a low price entry into computing. Some are buying netbooks not for the price, but for the portability that the machines offer.

ABI Research announced today that it expects 35 million netbooks to ship in 2009. According to the research firm, social and technological factors have worked together to create a sort of perfect storm for the netbook market in the next few years.

Forecasts by the research firm predict that by 2013 139 million netbooks will be shipping. ABI's Kevin Burden said in a statement, "PDA’s began our reliance on instant accessible data while traveling. 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 travelling professionals. Today, with a better understanding for what a smartphone is, is not, and may never be, along with a reality check on the usefulness of UMPCs, the market remains open for new device types."

Burden points out that low-cost and power miserly x86 and ARM CPUs has been the key to the netbook revolution. These processors allow users to get very close to their normal desktop or notebook computer experience in a much smaller package that offers longer battery life in most instances.

Burden continued saying, "In recent years, the industry still expected the smartphones to be more than they turned out to be, and most recently, MIDs were thought to be the next big mobile devices segment, but an unclear usage model continues to confuse the market. So today, netbooks’ time has come, and ABI research expects them to enjoy very strong market growth."

However, some analysts predict that increasing sales of netbooks is a bad thing for the CPU market. As the majority of sales begins to center on low-cost, and low profit netbook CPUs sales of more profitable CPUs may drop.

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Only a temporary halt on performance progress
By Alpha4 on 1/26/2009 2:45:19 PM , Rating: 1
As the majority of sales begins to center on low-cost, and low profit netbook CPUs sales of more profitable CPUs may drop
I understand the market worries surrounding the netbook processor. It yields a lower margin for sales premiums.

One thing that isn't discussed is how performance will be impacted though, and where that is concerned we might just see a scenario where desktop CPU development simply slows down until netbook processors catch up, at which point the pace of improvement will return and we can start churning some higher framerates in games again. I can't quite see the desktop market advancing at the rate it is otherwise.

By Oregonian2 on 1/26/2009 4:31:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well... desktop computing I think is in somewhat of a semi-stall (not in niche markets for sure, but I'm talking "overall"). More so during an economy downturn where hardware upgrading needs all the more justification.

What's lagging is software. The killer application that NEEDS new machines. Although I do have some programs that are CPU-limited (and only one (SPICE simulation) that's severely so, but that's a "work" one and I'm now employment-challenged so it doesn't matter)-- they all are "okay" on a first-gen Intel Conroe with only two cores.

Need something new and must-have that needs insane processor speed (preferably one that can take advantage of a lot of cores w/o running into each other's memory bandwidth needs).

When that happens, things will move ahead at 'warp speed'.

RE: Only a temporary halt on performance progress
By mindless1 on 1/27/2009 1:25:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'd have to disagree, even with the launch of Vista behind us and Win7 coming, the two dominant OS on earth for the next few years, we still don't see people moving towards more expensive, faster processors. Instead as with netbooks running XP, people are forgoing the new killer software in favor of the older stuff.

The two killer apps will probably be voice control and virtual reality. The tech isn't there to support either of these yet, and I suppose it's fair to say you are right that within these two, the software is a large portion of that.

By Oregonian2 on 1/27/2009 7:05:30 AM , Rating: 2
What is it I said that you disagree with, I really couldn't figure it out.

I basically said that it'll take a new high CPU performance required killer app to make major hardware upgrades to desktops take off, and you seem to agree with that.

P.S. - One does not forgo killer apps, the whole point of the "killer" designation is that everybody WANTS and NEEDS it. :-) :-) By definition, if it can be forgone, then its not a killer app.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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