Netbooks vs. Notebooks - Consumers are confused

An online survey of 600 people carried out by NPD Group seems to suggest that consumers don't understand the difference between netbooks and notebooks.

An online survey of 600 people carried out by NPD Group seems to suggest that consumers don't understand the difference between netbooks and notebooks.

Here are the highlights:

  • Only 58% of those who bought a netbook instead of a notebook said they were satisfied. Compare this with a satisfaction ration of 70% for those who intended on buying a netbook right from the start.
  • Of 18- to 24-year-olds, 65% bought a netbook expecting better performance, while only 27% thought their netbook performed better than expected.
  • 60% said that portability was the main reason for buying a netbook, but then 60% never take their netbooks out of their home.

Netbooks have changed considerably since they first came on the scene. There's definitely been a major shift away from Linux, small solid-state hard drives and small screens to XP, notebook hard drives and +10-inch screens. It was inevitable that netbooks would become little notebooks, albeit with the performance of a notebook from a few years ago. However, for most people, the performance of a netbook is more than adequate.

You also got to ask who transformed netbooks into mini notebooks. To me it seems like OEMs pushed these changes themselves and shot themselves in the foot in the process.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD said that "there is a serious risk of cannibalization in the notebook market that could cause a real threat to netbooks’ success." Yes, but the threat is to OEMs, not the netbook concept. And it's only going to get worse as netbooks get more powerful and the distinction becomes even more blurred. In fact, I feel that things are going to get to the point where the real difference between a netbook and a notebook is the screen size and keyboard.

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