Netbook, Notebook Growth Continues In Q2

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The PC notebook market continues to shift from full-sized notebooks to smaller, less expensive mini-notebooks.

According to DisplaySearch's Quarterly Notebook PC Shipment Forecast Report, the market for all portable PCs moved past 38 million units shipped in the Q209. Mini-notebooks, or netbooks, continued to see the most significant growth in terms of units shipped, up 40 percent quarter-over-quarter. Meanwhile, traditional notebooks saw a growth of 22 percent quarter over quarter.

The growth of the mini-notebook market has pushed vendors to adapt to market demands, and as a result the form factor of netbooks are growing. "Mini-note PC screen sizes have increased steadily, from 7.0" to 8.9" and then to 10.2," the report said. Some panel makers and brands are promoting 11.6-inch mini-note displays, leading to an overlap with ultraportable notebooks.

However, the higher prices of these larger netbooks diminish their cost advantage," John F. Jacobs, director of notebook market research for DisplaySearch, said in a statement.

Mini-notebooks continue to see the most growth in Latin America and China, due to the low price point. The features and functionality of the netbooks are enough for customers in these regions, many of whom are first-time PC buyers, according to the report.

In other regions, telecoms are impacting netbook adoption by subsidizing some or the entire price.

According to DisplaySearch, many phone providers in Western Europe are subsidizing the entire cost of netbooks in order to tempt customers. Meanwhile, in North America, the netbook experiment is still relatively new, with these programs mostly getting under way in the second quarter of 2009.

In May, Verizon and AT&T rolled out programs to subsidize netbook costs. Meanwhile in July, Best Buy and Sprint debuted netbook subsidies as well.

Because the netbook subsidies from telecoms like Verizon and AT&T are so new to the market, DisplaySearch cannot judge the effectiveness of the programs. Instead, the report notes that Western European countries subsidize 100 percent of the hardware cost and note that these programs have been successful overseas.

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