The nine-inch netbook is dead

It wasn't so long ago that you couldn't swing a small furry mammal around these parts without clobbering a nine-inch netbook with it.

Teeny weeny laptops were the next err... big thing and every OEM on the planet was chasing its tail to bring out a rival to the genre-busting Eee PC.

Now it seems like the thightop bubble has well and truly burst and most people are looking towards Cupertino for evidence of sheepish grins and sharpened pins.

The bean counters at Display Search have rattled together some numbers so shocking they really should be presented within a black border in traditional obituary style. Because they paint such a bleak picture for recent sales of the diminutive laptops, we reckon it really is time to announce that the nine-inch netbook is well and truly dead.

The research outfit, which is part of the NPD group, claims that sales of the diminutive devices have crashed by nearly 90 per cent in the last year and points the finger at Apple's iPad as the main culprit in the platform's demise.

And all of that despite the fact that the fruit-themed gadget maker still seems to be struggling to keep up with demand and has yet to make an impact on the Chinese and Japanese markets.

Add the oncoming rush of wannabe tablets from everyone from HP to Amazon and it really looks like it's game over for the (nearly) pocketable PC.

Those of us with fat fingers and failing eyesight will hardly be mourning.