ABI Research has forecast worldwide netbook shipments of nearly 35 million for 2009. It reckons this will keep rising up to 139 million units in 2013.
The reason for this explosion in demand, says the press release, is "a confluence of social and technological factors has created a kind of "perfect storm". By this it's referring to the rapid improvements in wireless connectivity, even greater dependence on the internet and a price sensitivity brought on by the recession.
"Today, with a better understanding for what a smartphone is, is not, and may never be, along with a reality check on the usefulness of UMPCs, the market remains open for new device types," said practice director Kevin Burden.
There's a growing consensus that the netbook may replace not only the UMPC and the MID, but the smartphone too. We think it more likely that people will have both as there will always be demand for the sheer convenience of pocket-sized devices.
Having said that, some people will definitely replace their smartphone with a netbook, just as many are opting for a netbook over a full sized notebook. There's no doubting that, in that respect, netbooks are a disruptive technology.