If you think that's a dumb question, then you are in a minority according to a new survey put out by the NPD Group.

Netbooks have been the darling of the PC industry over the past year or two. When you look at desktop and laptop sales, it is easy to see why. Desktop and laptops have tanked right along with the economy, while netbooks have soared.

But what is a netbook and what is their benefit?

Consider the survey results:

1. 60% of the people surveyed say that they only use their netbooks at home, as opposed to taking it on the go.

2. The same 60% say they bought their netbook for using on the go. Hmmm.. and what happened?

3. For those that went shopping for a notebook and ended up coming home with a netbook, 58% said they were ultimately not happy with their decision (duh!). Meantime, 70% who said they went shopping for a netbook and came home with a netbook are ultimately happy with what they got (duh, part duh!)

Maybe part of the problem is the definition of "netbook", which seems to be a moving target.

When netbooks came out, originally, they were exclusively loaded with open source operating systems, which kept the price down by avoiding pricey Windows software.

Netbooks typically had seven to eight inch screens. Then the size crept up to ten inches and are well on the way to 12 inches. You can also get them with Windows XP.

Tell me again, what is the difference?

Originally, they were supposed to be something different than a notebook and not just a baby notebook. Well guess what? Notebooks appear to have a little brother now.

Additional, theories:

If so many netbook buyers started out as notebook shoppers; could it be that the real appeal is a) the right price in the wrong economy and/or b) Windows XP on a 10 inch screen is more appealing than Vista on a 15 inch screen?

I'm just saying...