|3G LG-X120 Netbook|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The netbook craze shows no signs of slowing down, according to the latest research from comparison shopping site Pricegrabber.com, which predicts that the number of mini-laptop users could almost double this year. Netbooks are enjoying the spotlight this week thanks to the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona, which reportedly saw Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) demo its eagerly-awaited Compaq Airlife 100 device. Also at the event, Samsung launched what it describes as the world's first LTE netbook and LG also showed off its LG X 120 netbook.
With tech heavyweights such as H-P and Dell ( DELL) ramping up mini-laptop efforts, more and more consumers are switching to netbooks, says Pricegrabber.com. The percentage of online consumers who own a netbook has leapt to 15% from 10% last year, it said. And another 11% of consumers surveyed by Pricegrabber.com plan to buy a netbook this year. While the netbook love rush is great for makers like H-P and Dell, it also spells good news for chip specialists such as Intel ( INTC), ARM Holdings ( ARMH) and Nvidia ( NVDA). The comparison shopping site surveyed 1,680 U.S. online consumers in January and compared the findings to a similar study performed last year that polled 1,545 consumers. The survey also found that netbooks are more of a complement -- rather than a replacement -- for laptops. Some 55% of consumers surveyed did not consider netbooks a feasible replacement for their laptop, and 63% said that a netbook is best described as "an additional device while on the go." The advent of netbooks, however, is forcing down laptop prices, according to Pricegrabber.com, which says that the average laptop price dropped to $645 in December 2009 from $808 in December 2008.