Jeff Jedras (Senior Writer, Computer Dealer News): The netbook market, which has been extremely hot this last year, I don’t see it having a strong future, especially with the continuing growth in the smart phone segment. I don’t think there’s enough differentiation between those two products for them both to continue the strong growth that we’ve seen. And I think you’ll begin to see a level of convergence happen between those two segments; we’ve already seen them getting similar with the launch of mobile-broadband-enabled netbooks.
Dave Webb (Editor, ComputerWorld Canada): You’re already seeing that: I just saw on Verizon in the States they an HSPA-enabled device.
JJ: Rogers has a model as well, I think.
Rafael Ruffolo (Staff Writer, ComputerWorld Canada): Really, is the price difference that much if you get a really bare-bones cheap laptop from HP than a netbook? We’re talking about maybe $100.
JJ: My (BlackBerry) Curve, which I got on a three-year contract, if I paid the full cash price, it would be around $400 or $500, which is the price of high-end netbook today. And you’re already beginning to see vendors like Rogers or Verizon in the States offer contracts on netbooks where you get it for free if you sign up for a three-year contract.
RR: Five hundred dollars is a whole new laptop, too, which does more than either of the two.
Brian Jackson (Staff Writer, ITBusiness.ca): People are not going to carry around three screens, right? They’re not going to carry around a laptop, a smart phone, and a netbook. They’ll probably carry around a smart phone (people are adopting that at a pretty fast rate), but the netbooks are just going to blend into the laptops, and people will probably settle around a 13-inch, 14-inch screen on a device that’s a little more feature-rich, with a faster processor and more storage capability. Even at the end of this year we’ve seen the manufacturers going this way with their products. A lot of them have even dropped this whole differentiation between netbook and laptop models and they’re just landing their main consumer products in the middle of those form factors.
DW: I’m going to disagree. I think 10 inches is the sweet spot because it’s not about being feature-rich. It’s about portability, which is why, yes, if I spend $100 more, I can get a full-featured laptop, but I’m not buying it for the full feature-set, I’m buying it for the portability, and I don’t think that your BlackBerry is adequate for my purposes.
JJ: Have you used a netbook on an ongoing basis?
DW: It is my favourite computer.
JJ: I used one for a month and thought it sucked. It was far too limiting in its capabilities; it was too small, it was uncomfortable, and the tradeoffs that I made for a netbook versus a laptop were just not worth it for the very minimal savings in price.