Netbooks May Face Fatal Identity Crisis in 2010

Pulkit Chandna

Netbooks and internet-hungry consumers began romancing each other in 2007. They cemented their relationship this year and set off on their honeymoon. In fact, most of this year has been like a honeymoon for netbooks. But the thing that makes a honeymoon all the more special is that it only occurs once in a lifetime and almost always seems to end abruptly. Some industry analysts prognosticate the end of the honeymoon period in 2010.

They feel that netbooks will again be haunted by the same identity crisis that was born with them but was overshadowed by consumer enthusiasm. But it is a question that will be hard to ignore in the new year if prices continue to rise. Some netbooks are priced perilously close to entry-level laptops much more powerful than them. Besides, most users have become used to a more exciting brand of internet than the one netbooks offer.

"It's the internet's fault for making us much more multimedia savvy," Stuart Miles, founder and editor of technology blog Pocket Lint, told BBC News. "Technology has advanced so much that it's outmanoeuvred itself. You wouldn't go for something so basic anymore."

Netbooks may come under heavy pressure from the upcoming deluge of tablets and smartphones built to provide PC-like browsing, according to a BBC report. There are many different form factors being thrown around, to the extent that it has become difficult for consumers to choose among them. But Arm spokesperson Ian Drew believes that various device types will have to eventually coexist. "It will be a lot of different machines for a lot of different people," he told BBC News.

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