Netbooks have become enormously popular in the last year. In light of the economic crisis of the past eighteen or so months, people who need a new computer are more inclined to seek out the cheapest solution possible. In light of the massive uptick of $200 or $300 netbook sales, it would seem that many people are content with a small screen and limited hardware capabilities. However, this can come around and bite people who buy more powerful machines.
When thinking about the impact of a sudden influx of $200 computers, the instinctive next thought might be that it would encourage computer hardware manufacturers to lower the price points on their regular laptop computers. However, when compromising on price, computer companies tend to compromise on features, capabilities, and quality, as seen in netbooks. There could be a downside to lower prices across the board on laptop computer prices. It would not just hurt big corporations. Lower prices could just as easily harm the overall experience of laptop users.
Another point to consider is resale value. If a person pays $1200 for a laptop computer two years ago and tries to resell today, they may not be able to get as high a resale value on that notebook as they would like. With prices lowered overall by netbook prices, there will be a general perception among the masses that the price on that used computer should be lower than its true value.
So, netbooks do not just hurt user experience and computer manufacturers. They can also make life difficult for average users.