Netbook Confusion with Consumers?

I was out doing some Christmas shopping today and dropped by the local Staples. Thinking I’d check to see if our local Staples was carrying Netbooks I headed to the computer section and sure enough they had the HP L1010NR on sale for $359.98. There was also a crowd of several folks around looking at the Netbook.

One of the women in the small crowd (about 7 folks) was telling folks not to buy the device because it did not have a DVD drive. She had just returned one and was looking for a ““real computer". I politely offered that you Netbooks didn’t come with optical drives as these devices were meant to access the Internet primarily. Another gentleman chimed in and wondered why they would sell anything without a DVD drive these days. One other gentleman picked up a ticket and headed to the cash register.

When I got a chance to put my hands on it, it seemed like quite a snappy little performer, but I’m not a fan of the split button trackpad nor the very glossy case. When I asked a manager how they were selling he said they were selling very well, but that he’d also seen a number of returns. When I asked why, he said because they didn’t have a DVD drive was what he heard the most.

From this anecdotal experience, I’d say that while the price point is obviously attracting attention from consumers, some don’t understand what they are really seeing, or perhaps buying.