Netbooks kick ultraportable laptops to the curb

Netbooks are poised to sell big in 2009. What's more, they are pushing aside ultraportable laptops as the preferred small notebook.

. estimates that about 20.6 million netbooks will ship this year, about twice the number of ultraportable laptops. Ultraportables, which weigh roughly between two and four pounds with screens measuring 13.3 to 11 inches, traditionally make up 8 to 10 percent of the notebook market, IDC analyst Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays, told The Standard.

But this year, ultraportables are expected to drop to 5.7 percent of the laptop market while the even smaller and lighter netbook rises to 12.3 percent. "Mininotebooks -- which is what we prefer to call them because 'netbook' is an Intel marketing term -- are having a big impact on ultraportables," said O'Donnell.

projects even better sales for netbooks -- up to 35 million sold in 2009, rising to a tsunamic 139 million in 2013.

Both netbooks and ultraportables remain ahead of UMPCs, which ABI predicts will sell just under a million this year, three times the number shipped in 2008.

Next year might see a doubling to 2.2 million for UMPCs, but they have seen their day, said ABI analyst Kevin Burden. "They're enjoying a very slow climb, but they're too small and too underpowered," for anything but vertical applications such as healthcare, he said.