Photo of Dell All-in-one - Credit: Rafe Needleman/CNET
Netbooks are the greener, more practical version of notebooks. Now we're seeing the same concept applied to desktops. Smaller, simpler, cheaper versions of desktops are becoming a hot item. With the economy making people more frugal with their gadget spending, nettops are becoming a hot item because they offer only what an average desktop user needs - enough power and capabilities to do word processing, surf the internet, run a few light programs - and they often come with a cheaper price tag.
"A year ago I would have said Netbooks are not going to cannibalize the notebook market. Then the economy went kablooey," said John Jacobs, director of notebook market research for DisplaySearch. Since then, many people who needed a notebook have chosen to spend $400 on a Netbook instead of the typical $800 on a full-size notebook.
"I think we'll see something like that for Nettops," he said. "Either for retirees or younger folks who don't need the portability of a notebook, and just need something to get on the Internet and do basic computing. Nettops, and all-in-ones will be very attractive devices, and we expect to see a lot of retailers who have stayed out of it will jump into it."
Plus, they're far more compact than typical desktops, and since it's much greener to use as few materials as possible (such as with desktops like the Dell Studio Hybrid and Apple Mac Mini), we're pretty excited about them. And so is everyone else.:
The all-in-one category as a whole is expected to grow to more than 6 million units in 2009, and to over 7 million in 2010, according to DisplaySearch. That's almost an 80 percent spike in shipments, which was unexpected at the end of 2008.
There's a lot of room for companies to be eco-friendly with their design an manufacturing choices with nettops. Because the category is so recently popular, we aren't seeing much work being done specifically to make them as low-impact as possible. But it's only a matter of time, since all the major computer companies are under pressure to green their acts whereever they can. Thankfully, power consumption is already a focus for improvement. For example, the MSI AIO all-in-one Nettop uses 45W maximum consumption.
Another thing we like about nettops is that because they're a slimmed down, simplified version of a desktop, it's not likely that people are going to be rushing to replace what they currently have with a new nettop. Rather, if they're in the market to buy a new computer already, this will be a very appealing option. So it goes a little ways in avoiding that rush to consume that new tech so often (nearly always) generates.
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