Are netbooks going away?

The market for netbooks has boomed over the past two years, revolutionizing the tech world for both computer manufacturers and consumers. Yet the growing popularity of the iPad and tablet PCs like Samsung Galaxy Tab threatens to draw people away from these pint-sized computers. We turned to our panel of Zintro experts and asked them to share their opinions about whether the market for netbooks is headed towards an inevitable decline. Here’s what they had to say:

Bob Snyder, with 30 years of experience helping IT and electronic companies enter the European job market, says that netbooks are a necessary part of the evolution of the PC form. Snyder explains that netbooks will not die out, but instead will be “squeezed from both ends of the evolutionary spectrum” to settle down at a stable sales level in 2011. The creation of the iPad has opened the market for tablet PCs, and its legacy will potentially include hundreds of other W7 and Android tablets and related mobile devices. Further, Snyder believes that while tablets have “pinched” netbook sales, the real impact can be seen in the change tablets have inspired for smartphones and laptops manufactured by companies like Samsung, Toshiba, HP and many others. Snyder concludes by asserting that the market for netbooks will not stand still.  Netbooks will continue to adapt to a changing landscape in a way that ensures even “cloudy weather is in their favor.”

Kapil Pendse, with experience in consumer and industrial electronics across a broad spectrum of applications, agrees with Snyder’s conclusion that netbooks are not dying as a product. Rather, they have the potential to “spread out to new markets” such as India. Pendse explains that products like tablet PCs and iPads are not yet widely used in many developing countries because of the perceived complexity of touch screens. However, this lack of comfort with a touch screen interface will breed “healthy competition” between the tablet PCs and netbooks because of the appeal to different market segments. Pendse also references his experience with clients shifting from laptops to netbooks, saying that consumers are more open to buying netbooks because they supply the same basic purposes of a typical Internet user at a cheaper price.

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