Netbooks have not yet overtaken PCs but will continue to take market share as they develop over the next couple of years but pose challenges to both vendors and resellers.
According to analysts Forrester netbook ownership in Europe is only slightly behind the US and 30% of online consumers are prepared to use the hardware as a complimentary PC.
In terms of the threat of the next generation of products the clearest potential casualty is Microsoft, which has extended its XP operating system to appeal to the netbook community.
“Microsoft won the first-generation netbook OS war after a shaky start by extending the life of Windows XP. But that is neither sustainable nor desirable for their firm as we approach the launch of Windows 7,”stated the Forrester research.
The analyst house also warned resellers that the systems up to date had been based on X86 but in the future the technology would be more ARM CPUs and that could force dealers to widen their knowledge of that side oft he market.
As a result the door could be opened to telcos that blur the lines between smartphones and netbooks to drive the emergence of new form factors.
“European telcos, particularly those promoting mobile broadband, have been giving away – or at least heavily subsidizing – netbooks for the best part of the year,” the report stated “Netbooks could end up looking more like the iPhone than like a traditional laptop”