computex-2009Sure CES is less than a month away and I suspect we’ll see a lot of new and existing netbooks on display on that show floor. But one of the biggest events for computer makers every year is the Computex trade show in Taiwan. Despite the down economy, the organizers say they’ve booked 1800 companies to exhibit at Computex in June 2009, which is about 100 more than last year. And netbooks are expected to take center stage at the event, much as they did this summer.

Computex 2008 saw the launch of many popular netbooks including the MSI Wind U100. Acer, Asus, MSI, Intel, NVIDIA, and other companies will be talking netbook at Computex, 2009. But I have to wonder, will they be as exciting as the netbooks we saw at this year’s show.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully expect that next year’s netbooks will have faster CPUs which consumer lower power, touchscreens, 3G modems and all sorts of other cool new features. But part of the reason that the netbook market is growing so quickly right now is that there are still plenty of people who have never seen a netbook let alone purchased one. How long can this momentum last? I certainly think people will be excited about netbooks at CES next month. But what about 7 months from now?

I mean, I’ll certainly still be talking about them. But what do you think, will the product category be as hip half a year from now as it is today?

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6 replies on “Computex 2009 will be biggest yet, thanks to netbooks”

  1. I would love to see everything that you mentioned including a slightly higher resolution! I would love to see a better graphics chip as well (I feel like the processor is sufficient for right now). I know these goods aren’t supposed to be high-end, but it would be great to have a netbook that has no problem handling the 768 row issue. All of these 1024×600 netbooks are killing me. Just a one step up would be great! Please continue to keep us apprised of the details!

    Love this blog, btw.

  2. I was one of the early Netbook adopters in the US. I bought my eeePC 701 in early 2008 when they first appeared. I bought it for all the reasons that most people did… small size, rugged construction, great for checking email and light web surfing when traveling. As I spent more time with this device, I discovered its shortcomings… Linux is difficult for Windows people, the keyboard is too small for touch typing, the screen is too small for easy web access. Even with these shortcomings, I feel that this device is the the most useful piece of technology gear I have every owned. But time marches on.

    So after nearly a year with my eee, I am ready to move on to the new and improved next wonderful thing. The question is will it be a 10″ netbook or the holy grail of a cell phone with wifi, gps, touchscreen and no data package that I have to purchase every month. Maybe I will end up with both.

    Yes the next generation of netbooks will be very interesting but I am even more interested in the next generation of cell phone/PDAs that will give me everything that many netbooks do today.


  3. I think next year will mostly be about taking the category mainstream, where it becomes a standard form factor, just like the standard 15.4″ notebooks, the “lightweight” 13/14″ systems, and the multimedia 17/19 inchers. Brands that aren’t well known to the public right now will either become legit retail brands, or they’ll be pushed off the shelves by new models by the usual suspects. And, of course, as you point out, we’ll see better features, size/battery tradeoffs, etc.

    The two stories left to write:

    1. Breakthrough pricing. An everyday price of $249 is the next noteworthy barrier (the Razorbook is not well known), but $199 and $99 are even more important, if someone can figure out how to hit them and still have a viable product.

    2. Better than netbooks, but just as small. Right now business ultraportables are way too expensive for most people, but not everyone is happy with netbook specs. Some options for <3 lbs systems with better specs than current Atom/GMA945/1024×600 models that are still under $1000 are likely. One holdup: Microsoft's current licensing scheme probably requires them to have Vista, at least until Windows 7 appears or vendors push harder.

    Beyond that, I think the bigger story will be beyond netbooks: now that we've more or less redefined the specs for a small entry level system, where else will vendors put tht system? Will they take another stab at UMPC mini-tablets with cheap netbook parts? Will they embed these little PCs inside touchscreen TVs, photo frames, or set-top boxes? Heck, you could make a boombox sized portable DVD player/stereo with a 7" screen and a full computer embedded and probably bring it in under $500, and it could connect to iTunes or other music and video services directly over wifi — would people buy that?

  4. I am hoping to see some “wildcard” show up that will shake up the market. While netbooks keep getting better, they also seem to be getting quite similar to each other. Where is the manufacturer following their own path?

  5. The product category will not be hip, it will be mainstream by the end of 2009. At Computex the real groundswell will just be beginning. If you weren’t around in 1995-96 when the web took off, this will be similar. You will be able to look back in two years and say, “I remember what it was like when almost nobody knew about…”

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