On the demise of netbooks

Charles Arthur, The Guardian:

Sayonara, netbooks. The end of 2012 marks the end of the manufacture of the diddy machines that were – for a time – the Great White Hope of the PC market.

Arthur notes that both Asus and Acer exited 2012 with no plans to produce netbooks in 2013, apparently spelling out the demise of the mini-laptop platform.

The idea of the netbook echoes in products like Google’s Chromebook, manufactured by Samsung and Acer – a slim, tiny laptop with limited capabilities and Googlian (Googlish?) emphasis on “cloud.” I’d argue that Microsoft is trying to shoehorn laptop functionality into a tablet by building in a kickstand and emphasizing covers with built-in keyboards.

So I think it might be too soon to spell out the demise of netbooks entirely. Harry McCracken at Time agrees with me. He notes that the fix was in for netbooks from the get-go, from lackluster vendor support to active sabotage from Microsoft. McCracken predicts the netbook will reemerge in all but name as market forces push prices on Ultrabooks down further and further toward the netbook range.

  • Frank

    “with no plans to produce netbooks in 2012” should be 2013.

    • Peter Cohen

      thanks, fixed.

  • Walt French

    Meh. Netbooks were merely the cheapest (semi-?) usable device you could build with an Intel chip; little concern for screen quality, usability of keyboard/pointer, synchronization with more capacious or more capable home/office systems and optics.

    Apple showed that there is a different mix of attributes in (very) roughly the same price range, and pulled the rug out from under the market. The combo of a very nice MacBook (Air or otherwise) plus the very attractive/friendly/non-geeky iPad when you need/want MORE portability and accessibility, leaves a tiny unsatisfied demand in between the $329 iPadette, $499 iPad3 and $999 MacBooks.

    • Peter Cohen

      Yes, netbooks had compromises, but they weren’t completely useless. I appreciated the small size and extreme portability. Hell, I bought two.

      But they weren’t durable machines. I gave both to my teenage daughter. Both of them died untimely deaths. Meanwhile, her iPad has put up with her abuse for about as long, and is still ticking away.

  • Googlian (Googlish?)</>


    • jamesdbailey


  • “Netbooks aren’t better at anything….They’re just cheaper. They’re just cheap laptops.” -Steve Jobs

  • One reply, iPad.