With Asus, Lenovo, Toshiba, Acer, MSI, and everyone else offering mini-notebooks, it might be easier to list which companies aren't jumping on the netbook bandwagon than vice versa. But is the recent hype surrounding ultraportables just a passing fad, or is it here to stay?
If it is a passing fad, research firm Gartner says to expect the craze to stick around for at least a little while. The firm reports that worldwide mini-notebook shipments are on pace to reach 5.2 million units in 2008, with 8 million expected to ship in 2009. However, by 2012, Gartner says the market could balloon to nearly 10 times the size it is today with the potential to see as many as 50 millin units sold.
"The demand for mini-notebooks will be driven by several factors: by their small form factor and small screen, their light weight, their price, their ease of use and their basic, but sufficient, PC functionality," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner. "Mini-notebooks are likely to attract a variety of users with different usage scenarios."
If Gartner's predictions hold true, the ultraportable market will have shifted from low-cost education PCs to consumers in both mature and emerging markets, including some business buyers. The research firm says the largest growth opportunities for mini-notebooks are in the consumer subcategory, which will eventually account for about 70 percent of all ultraportable sales.
Are mini-notebooks here to stay?
Image Credit: Asus