Weekend open forum: Are netbooks here to stay?

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After struggling to become mainstream in the late 90s, the netbook market has seen somewhat of an unforeseen revival in 2008. While most PC literates would have agreed years before that a smallish, low-cost and straightforward laptop could easily carve its place in the PC market, a number of significant constraints like manufacturing costs and watt-heavy processors made it unfeasible for the netbook to arise, until now.

Widely available products like the Sony Vaio TX/TZ and the IBM Thinkpad X series used to provide ultra-portable accommodations to those who needed them and could afford them, but then late last year PC manufacturing giant Asus took the world by surprise by announcing its inexpensive Eee subnotebook line starting at just $300. You probably know the rest of the story. Asus reportedly sold 300,000+ Eee units in 2007 and expects to sell several millions more worldwide this year. Furthermore, support from Intel was almost immediate and now the Intel Atom processor is expected to compete in this segment with the likes of VIA and AMD.

Other PC manufacturers have been jumping aboard incessantly during this year, so while the Asus Eee line has been diversified, now there are several other players in the netbook market, to name a few: the Acer Aspire One, MSI Wind PC, Dell Inspiron Mini 9, OLPC XO-1, HP 2133 Mini-Note PC, Everex CloudBook, Intel Classmate PC, LG X110, and Lenovo IdeaPad.

So, are you a netbook owner now, or do you plan to buy one later this year? Would you consider this netbook movement pure novelty that will fade away in a matter of years or is the form factor here to stay? What do you think is cool about the format and/or what is it currently lacking to make it perfect?

Discuss.

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