Netbooks Dominate 2009

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It seems that netbooks have seen massive growth over the course of 2009, despite many analysts claims throughout the year that the popular devices were essentially a fad and would soon die off.

Word comes from HotHardware that this year has seen a rise of more than 100% in the total number of netbooks shipped. While that’s not an indication of just how many have been sold, the fact that netbooks are proving increasingly scarce in the run up to Christmas is a fairly solid indication of just how hard well those shipments translate into real sales.

All of this good news for anyone in the netbook business flies in the face of Michael Dell, who said just two short months ago that most netbook users were ultimately unsatisfied with their purchases, with many ending up regretting the purchase. From Dell’s point of view at least, the netbook model doesn’t work because the screens are too small to get any real work done, and most users would be better off with a “real” notebook.

In practice though, it seems that people are doing just fine with their netbooks, and many are perfectly happy with the screen size that seems to have disappointed netbook naysayers.

The real question is how well netbooks will fare next year, when Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer expects that the slimmed down notebooks cold well be ousted by so-called “ultra-thins” like Dell’s Adamo XPS. Certainly, there’s an awful lot of interest in ultra-thin designs from big names in the PC market, but we’ll be curious to see how well ultra-thins perform in the face of increased availability of Nvidia’s ION and Tegra in netbooks and small form factor tablets.

If nothing else, the humble netbook still has a lot to give before anyone can count it out.

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