My first netbook was an 8.9" HP Mini 1000. It was a great little computer, but the screen size did get on my nerves more than once. Small-screened netbooks are fine for taking notes or short-term browsing, but 8.9" just isn't enough to make most of us happy. Thanks to ultraportable notebooks, netbooks are trending down in price and up in size. Digitimes reports that "industry sources" expect most starter netbooks will have 10" monitors in 2010.
They expect that mid-range netbooks in 2010 will feature touchscreens, and that 12" netbooks will be the main profit drivers for the vendors themselves. Basically, this means that the profit margin on 12" netbooks will be higher than for other sizes. Beware of price gouging on 12" models.
Expect a lot of Ion-powered netbooks in 2010 as well. Since the Atom platform can only be used with a 10"-or less display, many vendors are expected to combine the Ion chipset with an Atom processor for 12" netbooks. The game will change when Intel's Pine Trail platform (with an integrated GPU) hits. Ion 2 will be coming out close to the same time.
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If you're a budget-conscious shopper, the best time to make your next netbook purchases will be later next year, after Pine Trail and Ion 2 hit. Old devices will be discounted substantially in order to clear the shelves for new ones. I wouldn't be surprised to see 10" touchscreen netbooks going for well under $500 next year.