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Portables Hardware

Dell Ditches Netbooks 354

angry tapir writes "Dell has ceased production of Inspiron Mini netbooks; in effect ending its pursuit of the receding netbook market, at least for consumer sales. When Dell ran through its stock of the netbooks several months ago, it declined to manufacture more units."
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Dell Ditches Netbooks

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  • price... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:06PM (#38420068)

    Most people stopped buying them because the manufactures forgot why people were getting them in the first place. They were cheap 'semi capable' computers. Some people bought them because they were small. But many bought them because they were 200-250 each. Then the price went up to 300-400 each. Basically borderline get a cheapo laptop... That has a better screen and better processor...

  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:06PM (#38420070) Homepage Journal

    Given that there's 15 inches laptops with higher specifications available for almost the same price, it's no wonder people aren't buying netbooks anymore.

  • Dell, (Score:4, Insightful)

    by M0j0_j0j0 ( 1250800 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:16PM (#38420134)

    Currently Dell is a brand , just that, nothing more , after exporting all the know how to asia Asus took over, and now there is nothing left except the round logo. Close, move along corporation.

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nightfell ( 2480334 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:27PM (#38420198)

    iPad killed the netbook market.

    I doubt it.

    Otherwise we wouldn't be seeing Acer continue with their Aspire One line either. They'd be just focusing on their Iconia tablet line.

    The iPad completely killed the mass netbook market. Now it's little more than a niche. Acer is a discount computer maker, so they'll continue to make discount computers, but people won't be buying netbooks anywhere near the level they once were. And this is all thanks to the iPad.

    As for the Iconia, you're missing a key point. The *iPad* killed the netbook, not the tablet. Nobody wants Iconia tablets, they want iPads, and maybe Fires (it'll be very interesting to see how the Fire plays out over the next year).

  • by herrnova ( 2534538 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:35PM (#38420240)
    I'm actually considering buying a netbook before the next semester starts. I've used my 17" and 15.6" laptops to take notes during my lectures, and when I'm in a big lecture hall with large tables, either one works fine, but when I'm usually in a regular classroom with regular desks, they are both too big to be practical. I've also tried using my android tablet with keyboard-case to take notes, and it just ended up being a PITA. While it may work for some people, its not for me. An iPad is not an option for me. So, instead of taking notes by hand, which is a pain in the hand, I'll probably be picking up a decent cheap netbook. Not because I want a full time laptop (which I already have), or want to play games on it (which is what my desktop is for), but because it's the best tool for the job. Pretty much all it will have installed is an office suite, web browser, and any software required for my classes. It doesn't matter that for another $50, I can get a 15.6" dual core laptop with decent ram and storage. I don't need any of that. I am sure there are others that feel the same. The netbook may not be practical for everybody, but it does have its use, especially at the ~$200 price range.
  • by green1 ( 322787 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @08:37PM (#38420260)

    I'm just not sure there's really much room between the laptop market and the tablet market, people are putting their money on either samll and light, or bigger but more powerful. The netbook really didn't quite fit in either category. Almost powerful enough to be a real computer, and almost portable enough to take with you everywhere... but not quite either.

  • The problem is that cheap laptops came down in price, while netbooks have only gone up in price...

    The original $200 netbooks running linux were great cheap devices for browsing the web..
    The $350 netbooks running windows are just slow and not very cheap windows laptops.

    The linux netbooks were seen by users as a new device, similar to how the ipad is perceived, while windows netbooks were seen as being inferior versions of regular laptops.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @09:04PM (#38420408)

    Compared to a netbook with an Atom, it's a steal.

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @09:08PM (#38420422)

    I think a tablet is a complementary product for desktops and laptops, and it is a competing product for netbooks. I also think this will eventually change. In the future I expect some tablet device to basically be somewhat similar to the CPU "box" of a desktop. When mobile it acts like a tablet, when at your desk in its dock its just the "CPU" with external storage, keyboard and display connecting to it. Not terribly different than connecting a laptop to a full sized keyboard and monitor when at your desk.

    I think you're right in saying that a dockable tablet will eventually replace netooks. But I don't think we're there yet, because when "docked" with a keyboard, it still isn't as useful as a netbook or a notebook, if only because the tablet applications themselves aren't as powerful as their desktop equivalents or don't translate well to a desktop experience. When I'm out and about I don't see many tablets. I do, however, still see a lot of netbooks. Yes, there may be a lot of tablets used at home or in business, but that's not what I'm still seeing out in public.

    Apple adapted their Mac word processor, spreadsheet and presentation applications for the iPad. Personally I think they are pretty capable and a good user experience with an external keyboard at least. With the onscreen keyboard I would only suggest brief usage. YMMV.

  • My guess is they are getting their ass kicked by Asus and don't want to admit they make a lousy product. The EEEs are damned nice little machines, especially the AMD Fusion models and talking to one of the guys I know at the local Walmart he said they are moving those things like there is no tomorrow. 6 hours on a battery charge under Windows 7, 8 hours under Expressgate, plenty of power, plays full 1080p over HDMI, sweet little units. If the Dell Inspiron mini is anything like their Inspiron laptops i can see why folks simply ain't buying, they're junk.

    Maybe they just can't compete with the likes of HP and Asus, who knows. I know I was amazed I could get a fully loaded EEE while adding 8Gb of RAM and a nice little case for it for only $350 but of course that was before the flood, last i checked they are like $439. Maybe they can't score the drives and have given up? In any case i don't think Asus and HP will mind taking the business from dell, not one bit.

  • by cervesaebraciator ( 2352888 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @09:47PM (#38420626)
    Spot on. I bought my Dell Mini back when they first came out. I was thrilled with its combination attributes. It was a cheap and small computer that I could easily stash in my satchel when I was in the library or going to teach knowing that it would still be running when I pulled it out later. I hate having to lug a full laptop about campus but I don't want to do without a keyboard. I was also very pleased that I wouldn't have to remove Windows from it. While its battery life isn't quite what it was, it is still running well and I am still happy with it. When the Mini finally kicks the bucket, I'm going to have a hard time finding something that fills its niche so well. The combination of attributes that made the netbook so useful to me is, for the most part, no longer readily available on the market.
  • profit... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @09:59PM (#38420694) Homepage

    The subject line of your post was "price..." The subject line of my reply is "profit..."

    Say that on a TV game show you're asked to name as many luxury cars as possible in 60 seconds. It's easy: Cadillac, Rolls-Royce, Lexus, Porsche, ... Notice how almost all of those have been on the market for a really, really long time. Now try the same thing with low-end cars. Uh, ... Chevette, Hyundai Excel, VW Bug, AMC Gremlin, ... Notice how most of those are no longer on the market.

    The similar tension, uncertainty, and chaos at the bottom end of the PC price spectrum is not a new phenomenon. The computer analogs of the Chevette et al. are machines like the Great Quality (ca. 1997), and the Everex GPC (ca. 2008). Notice how those are no longer on the market.

    It's really, really hard to stay in business when your profit margin is low.

    Basically the only way to make a $200 computer (desktop or netbook) is something like this. You produce them in Asia, where labor costs are low. You avoid R&D like the plague. You have nobody working for you who has the slightest expertise in software. You don't write documentation. You don't do support. You have a web site that's only in Chinese, and it has no useful content. You make your hardware specs so low that it takes 30 or 45 seconds for a browser to start up.

    Why would it be a surprise that users then fail to beat a path to your door? Your sales are low, and your profits are low. You go out of business.

  • by aXis100 ( 690904 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @10:06PM (#38420730)

    I dont agree. I bought a $300 netbook and I love it. the blend of power and portability is ideal for me.

    With a keyboard built in, it is far superior for typing than a tablet, and if you stick it in a simple sleeve it's not that much bigger. Real world all-day battery life is better than any regular laptop. And with dual core and a low end 3D graphics card, it's powerfull enough to play some games on low res.

    If I want something ultra-portable I'll just use my smartphone, and if I want something ultra-powerfull I'll use my desktop PC. The netbook fits in beween perfectly.

    Personally I think tablets are a solution looking for a problem that doesnt exist.

  • Re:profit... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @10:24PM (#38420846) Homepage

    Say that on a TV game show you're asked to name as many luxury cars as possible in 60 seconds. It's easy: Cadillac, Rolls-Royce, Lexus, Porsche, ... Notice how almost all of those have been on the market for a really, really long time. Now try the same thing with low-end cars. Uh, ... Chevette, Hyundai Excel, VW Bug, AMC Gremlin, ... Notice how most of those are no longer on the market.

    You do realize you're comparing companies with car models? "Porsche" isn't a car, it's a company, like Hyundai or Volkswagen.

    And the Bug was made from 1938 to 2003. Hardly a good example of a model who didn't manage to stay long in business.

  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @10:30PM (#38420872)

    I bought one of the first generation EEE PCs and loved it. I'd never buy another netbook again. What killed them wasn't tablets, it was smart phones.

    I mean I really want one of two things- a full computer to be usable anywhere, or a computer that can be used anywhere. For the first, they have the laptop. For the second, they have the smart phone. The downfall of the netbook is it won't fit in your pocket. I never actually took my netbook anywhere except vacations because I still had to carry it. May as well bring a laptop then, the only advantage of the netbook was the weight. I have no use for something bigger than my pocket unless I need to do serious work which requires a full sized keyboard, and in that case I want a full sized screen. Tablets and netbooks both fail.

    Netbooks and tablets both are evolutionary dead ends. In 10 years the only computer you own will be a smart phone, and you'll plug it into a docking station when you need a full keyboard (and some of those docks may be laptop sized for business trips).

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @10:40PM (#38420924) Homepage

    I agree. A $100-200 device, 7 in with a keyboard running Android makes sense. An 11 inch windows "netbook" for $350 doesn't when you can buy a laptop for not much more.

  • by neurocutie ( 677249 ) on Sunday December 18, 2011 @10:56PM (#38420976)

    I have owned a couple of Toshiba Portégés over the years, so I do have a Z830 on my shopping list. However, my point was that Dell has nothing at that level. I can understand that 1.1kg might be extreme, but Intel's Ultrabook specs call for a maximum of 1.3kg and Dell can't even match that weight.

    I have had many Porteges. Not one could hold a candle to my ASUS EEE's 8 hour battery life. Not even close.

    Show me a laptop/notebook that costs $250 or less and has an 8 hour battery life and weighs 1kg and *then* I'll believe that netbooks are worthless...

  • Re:iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @12:41AM (#38421344)
    Here's the absolutely honest reason I don't own a Macbook Air: My son is 9 and I want to take him to Disneyland when I attend a conference in a few weeks. So, instead of forking over $1300 for a sleek little Mac that I love, I spent $180 on a dual core netbook and another $20 on 2GB of RAM. Surprisingly, it's an OK machine. The netbook will travel with me to Anaheim in a few weeks -- and it'll do a reasonable job -- and the rest of my Macbook Air fund will be spent enjoying life with my kid while he's still young enough to want me around. Win.
  • by The_Noid ( 28819 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @07:06AM (#38422736) Journal

    That's a bad interface because it forces you to wait. When I'm typing a text I do not want to wait for some slow popup menu to come up, I just want to type the required key combo with my normal fast typing speed.

    That interface would be nice if they also listed the key combo you can use, so you can learn it so next time you can type your character without waiting.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!