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Netbooks Mutate to Meet Market Challenges

The word netbook may soon vanish into irrelevance, but the products that resulted from the category are not going away any time soon. Indeed, they're on the verge of injecting their DNA into a broad swath of the PC market.

Despite their shipments slowing down in the first quarter of 2009, inexpensive and low-powered netbooks are poised for rapid growth as their feature sets continue to mature. Research company International Data Corporation forecasts that the netbook market will more than double by the end of 2009.

"The mini notebook is doing what the notebook did," said Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC. "It went from a very targeted niche into something that appeals to a greater audience with specialized configurations…. The industry gradually changed and moved away from 'performance is king,' and now they want a more personalized experience. Now, customization is king."

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