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.