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iSuppli Questions Netbook’s Future

El Segundo, Calif. — The hot-selling netbook may see its fortunes fall when the world economy finally starts to recover, according to an iSuppli analyst.

Matthew Wilkins, iSuppli’s principle analyst, PCs, predicts netbook shipments will fall next year as the economy picks up and drop even further in 2013. Netbook shipments are projected to rise 68.5 percent in 2009, with this figure falling to 39.6 percent in 2010 and 13.1 percent in 2013. Wilkens, however, described these depressed shipment numbers as still very impressive growth.

iSuppli’s definition of a netbook as a portable computer, with a fully functional operating system, local storage, keyboard and wireless Internet connectivity. Normal cost is under $600 and they provide only basic computing capability.

Wilkens warned netbook makers not to fight their falling shipment numbers by overburdening their devices. He noted screen sizes for newer models are already in the 10-inch range, up from the 7- and 8-inch sizes that have dominated the category. Additional bells and whistles will incur greater cost thus pushing them closer to the low-end of the conventional notebook category.

Already there is only about a $100 difference between a standard netbook and an entry-level laptop, he said.