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Does 2012 Mark the End of the Netbook? 336

Voline writes "Digitimes reports that Asus and Acer will not be producing netbooks in 2013, signaling the end of a product category that Asus began five years ago with its Eee PC. The Guardian looks at the rise and fall of the netbook and posits some reasons for its end. Reasons include: manufacturers shifting from Linux to Windows, causing an increase in price that brought netbooks into competition with full-on laptops that offered better specs for not much more money; the global recession beginning in 2008; and the introduction of the iPad and Android tablets."
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Does 2012 Mark the End of the Netbook?

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  • Re:no (Score:2, Informative)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @04:26PM (#42435589) Homepage

    The "netbook" was nothing more than a marketing term for hardware that was available at the turn of the millenium but with a lower pricetag. In 2001, a netbook was considered a desktop replacement and cost $2000. A netbook was nothing more than the same hardware with a different label and a bargain pricetag.

    We still have slim laptops. Nothing really changed.

    The MBA is just the Apple netbook.

  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @04:32PM (#42435643)
    The reason for the downfall was indeed Microsoft. The original EeePC came with a Celeron processor (not Atom) and an SSD. It had a longer battery life. Microsoft's hardware requirements made sure you couldn't use a cheap low capacity SSD but had to use an hard-disk drive with more capacity that would still be relatively cheap just so it could run their bloatware. Then there was the licensing cost Microsoft imposed on the netbook vendors which eliminated any margin the vendors were supposed to have.
  • Re:2010 was the end (Score:5, Informative)

    by Scoth ( 879800 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @04:42PM (#42435749)

    The funny thing is I still take a lot of my work meeting notes on a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 that was given to me last year. I constantly get people asking me what it is, where to get one, etc. Its keyboard isn't amazing, but it beats a lot of the add-on keyboards people are using (or trying to use) with their tablets, plus it's a lot more durable. It's also running a full Linux setup which I've used for some light development, writing sd cards for a couple embedded projects, and had no trouble with a lot of USB peripherals.

    It may not be as cool as a lot of new tablets, and its battery life may not be up to what it was when it was new, but it's been a great thing for me. I have a 7" Android tablet too and haven't found a decent keyboard for it yet that isn't more than I want to pay. But the tablet does do media a lot better, Youtube and Netflix and such. So I tend to keep the netbook for work and the tablet for lying in bed watching something on Netflix. /csb

  • WaitAminute (Score:5, Informative)

    by folderol ( 1965326 ) on Monday December 31, 2012 @04:51PM (#42435819) Homepage
    What's all this 'was' and 'were'? My eee901 is still going strong as an industrial tool (running debian squeeze) that helps me diagnose/configure/monitor all sorts of BIG machines. Battery life is fine, so is screen brightness and resolution. It quite happily bounces around on top of said machines while I plug in Ethernet, USB, serial over USB, and projectors (for display and education purposes). Back at the office I'm spoiled for choice as to which method I use the transfer the stored data. Oh, and this little baby, plus mouse, various leads etc. fits nicely in a padded sandwich bag.
  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @02:35AM (#42439421)

    I'm typing this up on a W7 i7 desktop I built myself. I don't wanna be accused of Apple fanboiism. Like most here, probably, I assemble my computers -- in my case mostly because my PSU is rocksolid and I can reuse certain components like my video card (not a gamer), SSD, harddrives, Blu-ray reader, and cardreader my from the last computer. But more than any of that, so I don't have to put up with the shitton of crapware that comes on a new computer. Last time I bought an Acer for someone (2007, not sure how it's these days), it was a fucking nightmare and next to impossible to remove (not to mention no recovery CD - that was $20 extra + s/h).

    I think your post a bit ridiculous. Apple is selling better than before, sales slowed due to size. It's easy to grow 1000% when starting from next to nothing (smartphone market, not the company itself).

    Don't mistake an expanding market/dropping market share as Apple failing. It's inevitable in every market: there are luxury manufacturers and and those that sell to the masses. Rarely can a company do both well. Even among car makers, like Honda and Toyota, they eventually had to make up a new marque (Acura and Lexus) to bridge that gap semi-successfully.

    Japanese companies used to be all about marketshare too and by chasing every sale, even at a loss, they gained little but the weatherwave loyalty of people who now buy chinese products because they are 10 cents cheaper.

    Apple already went the marketshare route in the 90s. They licensed out their OS and it was a disaster for them. Now it probably would be even worse - they are not a hardware company in the traditional sense and tehy will get trounced playing that game.

    Apple is all about comfortable margins. They still have one advantage others don't, which they sell. Ecosystem and integration. Someone that buys an iPhone is likely to spring for an iPad sometime, more than any other tablet. After they get a tablet, they might go for notebook. It all works together rather seamlessly for the average bullshit that average people do. Developers of both physically accessories and software like it since there are few major models to target.

    Apple has it's customers and they pay the premium and are apparently happy more or less. Since it's no longer the early 90s, marketshare doesn't matter that much anymore in terms of program availabilty except for video games (which has largely gone to the console market anyway - Apple is notebooks more than desktops and it's unlikely hardcore gamers are going to rely on those anytime soon anyway).

    Or like my parents. They got an Apple notebook (completely devoid of the bullshit crapware mentioned above), it's been way more rock solid software wise than their windows PCs (admittedly pre-W7), the notebook never fucks up/hangs in standby/hibernate or whatever and they bought the rest of the Apple stuff as they went along. I didn't have to babysit their computer while visiting. Win/win.

    Apple is never going to be dell, and emulating Dell was never the reason why they got so big.

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