It's not always easy to define a netbook. In general, netbooks are smaller and less powerful than notebook or laptop computers. But there's no official definition, and even the term itself is the subject of debate. Should we call them netbooks, "notbooks," smartbooks, ultra-mobile PCs or something else? Whatever we end up calling them, they were very popular in 2009.
In the second quarter of 2008, netbook sales accounted for 5.6 percent of the overall portable computer market. By the same time in 2009, netbooks had grown to 22.2 percent of the market (source: Myslewski). The low price and wide variety of choices helped boost sales throughout the year.
Another trend that nearly made our list also impacted netbook sales: cloud computing. Cloud computing ports processing, storage and applications to the Web. That means you don't need a powerful computer to run the types of applications you're used to -- the cloud will do it for you. Cloud computing services grew in number over 2009, but not without some obstacles. A few notable companies like Google and Microsoft had to deal with the customer fallout from service outages, one of the drawbacks to cloud computing.
Despite the recession, 2009 was a good year for gamers. The triumph of the PlayStation 3 is our next trend.