Why consumers shopping for netbooks are buying smartphones

Increasing numbers of consumers in the market for a new netbook are deciding that the best highly portable computer for them is in fact a smartphone.

As smartphones get smarter, more powerful and more efficient at completing tasks that were only a few years ago confined to the screens of portable computers, consumers are questioning the need to carry around both a mobile phone and a netbook.

A study conducted by market researcher Compete revealed people browsing the web with the intent to purchase a netbook are now "cross shopping" for smartphones, comparing features within the two device categories before making their purchase.

Compete explains the recent shift in consumer behaviors in a report released on October 23, saying "many new smartphones are getting close [to netbooks] in terms of specs and have the added benefit of an "always on" 3G network. Aided also by the popularity of the Android OS, smartphones are now becoming real competition for netbooks and consumers are beginning to view their "phone" purchase as a hunt for a compact, mobile computer that can also make calls."

Research shows consumers looking at netbooks such as Acer's Aspire One, HP's Mini 110 and Samsung's Go through the website of American carrier AT&T were also investigating the features of smartphones such as Apple's iPhone 4 and 3GS, Palm's Pixi Plus and Samsung's Captivate during the month of September 2010.

Thirteen percent of consumers shopping for an Aspire One broadened their search by looking into an iPhone 4, and 15 percent of shoppers researching the HP Mini 110 also took a closer look at Samsung's Captivate.

"In this changing market, consumers are taking the time to explore their new options," said Compete.

"Smartphones not only offer 3G mobile web browsing but also mobile entertainment and file storage in an interface that feels less like an inconveniently small computer and more like a conveniently powerful phone."

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