Intel's vice president in the sales and marketing group, Stu Penn, was quite clear. "We originally thought Netbooks would be for emerging markets and younger kids, and there is some of that. It turns out the bulk of the Netbooks sold today are Western Europe, North America, and for people who just want to grab and go with a notebook. We view the Netbook as mostly incremental to our total available market," Pen explained, "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size-it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."
I'm not sure if netbook owners agree with this sentiment. I'm using my netbook as my only notebook right now, and I'm not having any problems at all. Sure, you can't play any serious games on it, but for everything else, Intel's Atom chip is a very capable piece of machinery. The screen certainly could be an issue, but at 1024x600, I'm not having any problems either. However, as always, your mileage may vary.
In the meantime, AMD is steering clear of the netbook market altogether. A few weeks ago, AMD Chief Executive Dirk Meyer said "We're ignoring the Netbook phenomenon-just thinking about PC form factors above that form factor." AMD does have chips coming out that could power netbooks, but they're not aiming for it. The company has stated that they are more interested in powering devices more akin to Apple's MacBook Air - thinner, but with larger displays than normal netbooks and with full-sized keyboards.
"We're going to offer the Congo and Yukon platforms as an alternative (to processors and chipsets for Netbooks). There are a fair number of people that are not satisfied with the experience they're getting on these [netbook] platforms," explained Bahr Mahony, AMD's director of notebook product marketing. He added that the high return rates for netbooks in Europe underline customer dissatisfaction.