Those little netbooks are getting big…

Here’s more evidence that netbooks are still a growth product: A new report from DisplaySearch, a unit of the NPD Group research firm, says netbook shipments grew at twice the rate of regular laptops (40 percent compared with 22 percent) from the first quarter of this year to the second.

As a result, the report says, netbooks now account for one out of every five laptops shipped in the last quarter. Netbooks went from about 6 percent of total laptop shipments in the second quarter of 2008, to 22 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

In addition, the report says, “Asus, the pioneer in mini-note PCs, has been steadily losing share because Tier 1 brands like Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo and Toshiba have become increasingly aggressive in this shipment.”

While the continued popularity of these low-cost, down-sized “mini” notebooks is good news, in one sense, some are concerned that they are contributing to a broader decline in prices and profit margins for companies that make and sell computers, chips and software.

HP, for example, reported that its notebook revenue was down 10 percent for its most recent quarter, even though it sold 19 percent more units than last year.

Watch for a story in the Merc about a new line of laptops and processors that some believe are intended to shore up sales of traditional notebooks.


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