Some new Forrester data arrived in my inbox just before CES, and now that the show has come and gone, I've had a chance to review:
"Forrester's data shows that over a third of consumers are interested in netbooks as a second or third PC to be used while on the go, while a quarter of consumers would consider giving them to their children," writes Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder. "Netbooks are therefore more than just cheap alternatives that can hurt sales of traditional PCs – rather, they serve a distinct purpose. In fact, netbooks represent a third form factor in the consumer PC space, in addition to laptops and desktops."
The results are from a new Forrester report, "Netbooks Are The Third PC Form Factor.”
These results confirm my suspicion that, instead of the OLPC-tinged intention of Netbooks as a tool for developing countries, the Netbook phenomenon has really come to fruition as an alternative to dragging around a full-size laptop to perform basic functions. For moneyed Americans (relative to the rest of the world, especially developing countries), the Netbook represents the missing link between a smartphone and a laptop.
Better yet, it also sheds a bit more light on the other side of that fad: the "one laptop per child (in my house)" phenomenon, in which Netbooks make it much easier and simpler to offer children their own machines.
And for the price, why not? Consider it the end of the family computer, as far as I'm concerned.