Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the Dell Studio One 19 cannot be configured with an Atom processor.
Just a year ago, this category didn't exist. But after several Atom-powered all-in-one PCs debuted at CES in January, it's officially the hottest grouping of desktops on the market.
A category long dominated by Apple's $1,200 iMac is suddenly rife with nice-looking imitators that pack less power than traditional Windows desktops, but are also gentler on the wallet. They're a subcategory of desktop PCs called Nettops, and, like Netbooks, they're generally defined as a computing platform powered by the Atom processor that runs either Windows XP or a version of Linux. Combined with the all-in-one form factor and a smaller screen than most desktops (between 15 inches and 19 inches), they're essentially the Netbooks of the desktop category.
"A year ago I would have said Netbooks are not going to cannibalize the notebook market. Then the economy went kablooey," said John Jacobs, director of notebook market research for DisplaySearch. Since then, many people who needed a notebook have chosen to spend $400 on a Netbook instead of the typical $800 on a full-size notebook.
"I think we'll see something like that for Nettops," he said. "Either for retirees or younger folks who don't need the portability of a notebook, and just need something to get on the Internet and do basic computing. Nettops, and all-in-ones will be very attractive devices, and we expect to see a lot of retailers who have stayed out of it will jump into it."
The all-in-one category as a whole is expected to grow to more than 6 million units in 2009, and to over 7 million in 2010, according to DisplaySearch. That's almost an 80 percent spike in shipments, which was unexpected at the end of 2008.
Reinvigorating a tired category In fact, the rise of all-in-one Nettops looks to be the most interesting thing to happen to desktop PCs in years. And, just as the economy helped bolster Netbooks' appeal, so too will it make Nettops more attractive to buyers, industry watchers believe. … Read more