When netbooks first started hitting the market in 2007, there was a lot of guessing going around about who exactly these cheap, small, and underpowered laptops were supposed to appeal to. Because the first Asus Eee PC seemed to have a lot in common with the OLPC XO Laptop, one idea was that netbooks would appeal to new PC users in developing nations and customers in developed countries that didn’t have a lot of experience with computers. After all, these first generation machines had a simple version of Linux that was designed to make the operating system feel more appliance-like and less PC-like.
But over the past two years, it’s become clear that netbooks appeal to a wide range of people, from business professionals to educational institutions, to recreational users looking for something smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a 6 pound laptop.
So while Intel, and other companies that initially saw netbooks as a way to open up new markets, the company is changing its tune now… but still suggesting that netbooks will continue to help PC sales for the foreseeable future. That’s because instead of selling netbooks to new computer users, Intel sees PC makers selling netbooks as secondary machines, or as notebooks for kids.
According to an Intel spokesperson, most netbooks are bought by people that already have a PC or two.
I know many readers of this blog have said they feel netbooks are good enough to use as a primary computer. But how many of you have picked up a netbook to use instead of a pricier PC? I’m guessing most of you already have a bigger, bulkier solution for use around the house and picked up a netbook for its price and portability. Sound off in the comments.