A netbook is a laptop. It’s just smaller, cheaper, and typically less powerful than most other laptops on the market. But those three things are enough to set netbooks apart from other notebooks in the minds of most consumers, and according to a survey from PriceGrabber.com, 55% of consumers think netbooks complements traditional laptops rather than replacing them.
It’s not particularly surprising that most people would rather use a full time laptop for some or many tasks than one that was designed to be low cost and ultraportable. What’s a bit more surprising to me is the implication that 45% of consumers do think that netbooks are replacements for traditional laptops — indicating that many people just don’t need a big screen or a powerful processor to meet most of their computing needs.
The PriceGrabber study defined netbooks as machines with screens smaller than 11 inches and price tags lower than $500, which seems about right to me.
The survey also points out something that’s been pretty clear for the last year or two: The increasing demand for cheap netbooks has led to a drop in the overall prices for computers. PriceGrabber.com reports that the average cost of a laptop in its directory dropped from $808 in December 2008 to $645 in December, 2009.
The complete study has all sorts of other interesting tidbits, including the odd fact that the largest age group of netbook owners seems to have shifted from 35-54 to 45-64 over the past few months, and that solid state disks aren’t really taking off.