Mini laptop use set to soar

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Mini-notebook shipments are set to rocket past the five million unit mark this year and could reach eight million by 2009, according to new figures from analyst firm Gartner..

A mini-notebook typically has a five- to 10-inch screen and runs a full operating system. Current models include the Asus Eee PC and HP Mini-Note. Dell is also expected to make this week.

Part of the reason for the huge popularity of mini laptops, according to Gartner, is that they are likely to attract a variety of users with different requirements including content consumption, internet browsing and email and instant messaging use.

Although the surge in demand is likely to come mainly from consumer markets, mini-notebooks will also appeal to business users including journalists, sales people, and mobile services and support workers "who are seeking a small and lightweight mobile PC with basic functionality and internet connectivity", the report said.

“The demand for mini-notebooks will be driven by several factors: by their small form factor and small screen, their light weight, their price, their ease of use and their basic, but sufficient, PC functionality,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner, in a statement.

The market for mini-notebooks is expected to continue strong growth, said Gartner, with potentially as many as 50 million mini-notebooks shipped in 2012.

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