Scan the dyslexicon of products targeting the territory between laptops and mobile phones--e-books, mini-notebooks, mobile Internet devices, netbooks, smartbooks, smartphones, tablet PCs and tomorrow's cloudbooks--and you understand why consumers are confused.
They're not the only ones. Practiced market watchers admit to having been caught unaware by the netbook's popularity, for example, as consumers took to the products with an enthusiasm that even the leading PC companies failed to foresee.
Some of the product introductions represent truly new categories triggered by legitimate innovations; others boil down to distinctive marketing. Understanding the emerging products and the segments they target is critical for OEMs as they hone their designs, pricing schemes and marketing messages, but that's no easy task when the market is in flux.
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