Almost everybody gives credit to Intel for popularizing the term netbook – when the Asus Eee PCs first started showing up, they were being called sub-notebooks, sub-laptops, mini-notebooks, UMPCs (which really confused things, as UMPCs generally had a specific form factor that they followed), ultraportables, lightweights, etc. Basically, there was a heckuva lot of confusion among various companies and various websites over what to call these devices.
Intel stayed consistent in their labeling them “netbooks” and some manufacturers followed their lead.
In what appears to be a show of confidence in the form factor, it’s now come out that Intel has bought netbook.com (how much, we don’t know).
For a while, netbook.com was redirecting to Intel’s main site, but it looks Intel has began turning it into a stand-alone site, meant to explain just what a netbook is and what Intel’s philosophy is concerning netbooks.
Some PC makers were hesitant to enter the netbook market, with fears of netbooks eating into laptop sales (while Intel talked about netbooks opening up new markets and opportunities). Some of those fears have proven true, but at the same time, those companies are finding out that many people are buying netbooks as a second computer, as well as buying them as first-time computers for family members (rather than second-hand computers). They are also finding out that they don’t have a choice – they have to be in the netbook market (Sony is a prime example). It’s changing the entire market – companies such as Asustek, MSI, and Acer are seeing netbooks as a way to increase brand awareness and get into markets they weren’t previously in or were minor players (especially in North America).
Intel obviously has big plans. You can see for yourself at netbook.com.