Even though netbooks only exploded on to the market two years ago, they've dramatically evolved. We take a look at what netbooks might look like in the future.

Netbooks, the small and cheap laptops that are ideal for basic computing tasks such as surfing the web and checking email, first exploded into the computer world in November 2007, with Asus's Eee PC.

Ever since then they've been rapidly evolving into a more useable and suitable device. It didn't take long for Asus and competitors such as HP and Dell to release a second generation of netbooks, which came with 10in screens, better keyboards, and a faster Atom processor.

So what can we expect in the future? Well, we think the netbook will look very different to today's devices. A host of vendors are currently hard at work on an entirely new type of netbook, which they say will use new processors and operating systems.

The old netbooks were, in essence, the tiniest notebooks computer vendors could make, says Glen Lurie, president of AT&T's Emerging Devices Organisation.

"But now there are new entrants looking at netbooks as mobility devices," says Lurie. "They're saying, why not use other chipsets and other operating systems? This [attitude] is leading to some nice innovation."

In particular, Lurie says, the new netbooks will blend the best features of netbooks and smartphones.

Here's what to expect as these new netbooks begin to be available by the end of the year. If you fancy reading more on netbooks then check out our ultimate guide to buying a netbook.

NEXT PAGE: A new heart

  1. Why we think the netbook will look very different in the future
  2. A new heart
  3. Focus on a new OS
  4. A new approach
  5. Do these new netbooks have a future?