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Gartner Says Worldwide Mini-Notebook Shipments to Surpass 5 Million Units in 2008
Consumer Segment Offers the Largest Growth Opportunity for Mini-Notebook Vendors
Mini-notebooks are mobile computing devices with a screen size of five inches to 10 inches that run a full version of client operating system (OS), such as Windows XP or Linux. Mini-notebooks do not include microinformation devices (MIDs), which according to Gartner definitions are a separate product category and include mobile computing devices with a screen size of three inches to five inches.
"The demand for mini-notebooks will be driven by several factors: by their small form factor and small screen, their light weight, their price, their ease of use and their basic, but sufficient, PC functionality," said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner. "Mini-notebooks are likely to attract a variety of users with different usage scenarios: content consumption, internet browsing, e-mail, instant messaging (IM), keeping in touch with friends and family, storing and sharing pictures, and so on. Potential users are likely to include both first-time buyers seeking a low-cost introductory PC as well as experienced users seeking a low-cost second or third PC for themselves or a relative."
Although mini-notebooks started as low-cost education PCs, since the end of 2007 the targeted audience has expanded from education to consumers in both mature and emerging markets and a few business buyers.
Gartner states that the largest growth opportunities for mini-notebooks are in the consumer subcategory and that this segment will eventually account for about 70 per cent of all mini notebooks. The main drivers for mini-notebook adoption will be market positioning, device price, availability of wireless connectivity and its costs as well as support from channel partners and retailers.
"Mini-notebooks create opportunities to reach some new PC buyers and expand within existing buyers across all regions," said Mr Shiffler. "Considering the majority of mini-notebooks will be sold to consumers, PC vendors will need to pay increasing attention to the design and ease of use of mini-notebooks. These will be two crucial factors in this segment."
Gartner does not expect any major cannibalisation of mobile PC shipments by mini-notebooks in 2008 and 2009, because there is a significant functionality and performance gap between notebooks and mini-notebooks. However, from 2010, mini-notebooks may start to cannibalise some low-end mobile PC volumes, and from 2011, they could significantly boost business PC shipments if their performance should increase substantially and they prove attractive to general business users.
Mr Shiffler said that PC vendors should definitely be planning new revenue opportunities around mini-notebooks, but at the same time they should not stake their businesses on them. He advised vendors to regularly review and adjust their product positioning and channel strategies for each of their notebook subsegments, especially during the next 12 to 14 months as they search out mini-notebook opportunities.
"For consumer mini-notebooks to succeed, they need to be positioned differently than standard notebooks, and PC vendors will need to decide if the existing channels to market are appropriate and possibly look for new channels, such as telecom, gadget shops and so on," Mr Shiffler said. "PC vendors will have to convince retailers to take on those products, as they are still emerging products and potentially present some risk from an inventory point of view."
Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Dataquest Insight: Forecast Scenarios for Mini-notebooks, Worldwide." The report is available on Gartner's Web site at http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?ref=g_search&id=725410&subref=simplesearch.
Über Gartner Deutschland GmbH
Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the indispensable partner to 60,000 clients in 10,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 4,000 associates, including 1,200 research analysts and consultants in 80 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.
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