Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of the Netbook. And I’m not alone. A recent DisplaySearch report reveals that sales of these low-cost mini notebook computers grew 160 per cent in Q3, with the research firm predicting that a total of 14 million Netbooks will ship this year, up from just one million in 07.
It seems that 08 is the year of the Netbook (see my top ten Digital Lifestyle products of 08).
In terms of individual performance, Acer (Aspire One) and Asus (Eee PCs) are leading the pack with 38.3 per cent and 30.3 per cent market share each, while Dell (2.8 %), MSI/Medion (7.8 %) and HP (5.8 %) trail significantly.
What’s less clear, however, is how Netbooks are actually being used. Or more specifically, what role they play in a user’s digital life.
For my own needs, I bought a Netbook, in part, out of tech curiosity and also as a lightweight and inexpensive PC when traveling. I’m much less keen on taking my beloved but overpriced Macbook out on the road and, in comparison, a Netbook wouldn’t cost too much to replace if it was damaged, lost or stolen. In that sense, my Netbook plays the role of a ‘third machine’ — in addition to my iMac and Macbook — just as the PC industry intended.
See also: Don’t buy a Netbook pleads PC industry
Beyond mobile computing, another use case scenario for Netbooks that I’ve observed, both upfront and anecdotally, is surfing the web, Instant Messaging or updating Twitter/Facebook while sat on the couch watching television. A luxury maybe but something we’ll see more and more of as we become increasingly ‘connected’ (I’ve also seen/heard of people using an iPod touch or iPhone for the same purpose).
So how do you use your Netbook? Primary laptop or ‘third machine’? Let us know by leaving a comment.