2009, Year of the Netbook?

by Sachin Balagopalan on December 13, 2008 · Comments

It’s hard to believe that 2008 is coming to a close as most of us are gearing up for the holidays and looking forward to the New Year celebrations. Those of us who are interested in watching technology trends are looking forward to the new year with baited breath wondering what’s in store for us in 2009. Looking back at this year it’s probably safe to say that 2008 will go down in history as the year of the “Multitouch” device spearheaded of-course by Apple and the iPhone. After the release of the first iPhone in 2007 and the 3G refresh this year, no doubt spawned a slew of devices adopting the gesture based multitouch technology. Not all of them are cool as the iPhone but the seeds have been sown nevertheless.

It’s also not a secret that technology trends are often driven by trends in the economy and the current economic climate may very well drive technology in 2009. Netbooks have been gaining popularity and acceptance recently and it looks like 2009 may very well be the year where everyone will own one of these small, light-weight, low-cost, energy-efficient laptops. Mark Anderson, chief executive of Strategic News Service, a newsletter circulated to C-level tech executives in a recent Business Week interview said …

… the popular new class of lightweight computers, will grow into an important market segment. “If you’re looking for growth rates, the strongest will be in this category, and it will be beyond debate,” he says. “Until now, it’s been debatable. Everyone will have one. The only question will be what color it is.”

If you think about it it’s pretty much a no-brainer given the current economic climate. Why should I spend a $1000 or more for a fancy laptop when for under $400 I could get a Netbook and pretty much be able to do the same things I could with a regular laptop - which is getting online and surfing the internet, sending emails, chatting with my friends and occasionally using the word processor to type out a document. There are some disadvantages like you won’t be able to access iTunes which may be a problem for some people.

There is another reason why Netbooks will gain traction in the coming months and that’s due to a paradigm shift towards cloud computing. More and more services and data are moving away from the laptop/desktop and farmed out to data centers thus lessening the need for powerful laptops. The “crunching” is done on a remote computer somewhere and the user simply accesses the service/data via a browser or a light-weight client. GoogleApps and Zoho are examples of this.

Should be interesting to see what the hottest tech trends will be in 2009!

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