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Tech Report - Netbook or Notebook: What’s the Difference?

By Paul O’Reilly

The target market for the current generation of netbooks is largely confused about how the new devices differ in functionality from traditional laptop computers, says a new report from NDP Group, a market research company. Fully 60 per cent of consumers who purchased a netbook think that netbooks and laptops can do the same things and that makes for a large number of unsatisfied customers!

Netbooks are built and marketed to be lightweight, ultra-portable and convenient. To achieve these goals, manufacturers make some sacrifices, mainly in processing power and the number of applications. In contrast, notebooks usually offer more power, a bigger screen, and all the applications one would expect on a standard desktop – in other words, the full computer experience

Unfortunately, plenty of netbook purchasers aren’t aware of the differences between the two devices and are ultimately disappointed by the performance of their netbook system. And that’s leading to some dissatisfaction among consumers who feel like they didn’t get what they paid for. The NPD report found that only 58 per cent of consumers who bought a netbook instead of a notebook were very satisfied with their purchase.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, a major demographic targeted by netbook manufacturers, customer satisfaction levels were even lower. Sixty-five percent of this group said they were disappointed with their netbook, with only 27 per cent experiencing a better than expected performance.

Part of the problem might be consumer confusion over what they are going to do with a computer once they buy it. NPD noted that netbook manufacturers and retailers have focused on the devices’ portability in their marketing messages and 60 per cent of consumers cite this as a main reason why they bought a netbook.  However, NDP also found that 60 per cent of buyers never took their netbooks out of the house again once they got them home!
 
“Retailers and manufacturers can’t put too much emphasis on PC-like capabilities and general features that could convince consumers that a netbook is a replacement for a notebook,” says Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD.  “Instead, they should be marketing mobility, portability, and the need for a companion PC to ensure consumers know what they are buying and are more satisfied with their purchases.”

 



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