Netbooks: Not Dead Yet!

By  |  Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 3:46 pm


Yesterday, a spate of stores reported that an Acer sales executive had predicted the slow death of netbooks as tablets take off. Some took the news as an opportunity to tap-dance on the netbook’s grave. But now Acer is saying that it was all a big misunderstanding.

Here’s a bit of a statement the company released today, under the title “Acer NOT phasing out netbooks in favor of tablet:”

Mobility, which has always been part of Acer’s DNA, finds a new form of expression in the range of tablets on offer, which feature various display sizes and models designed to fit different kinds of usage scenarios. Acer recognizes that the computer market is changing. As PCs are no longer only used to create content but are more and more becoming consumption tools, new devices and new form factors are appearing.

This means the range of devices available to users is getting wider and tablets are just another piece of the mosaic. Therefore, they will find their space next to netbooks and notebooks.

One of the things I like about Acer is that its executives are sometimes startlingly honest (when it came to the fiasco known as Windows Vista, CEO Gianfranco Lanci didn’t mince words). So I suspect that the Acer honcho quoted in the original stories wasn’t misquoted–and that if his point was that tablets will cut into netbook sales, he’s right.

But I can’t see tablets killing netbooks–which are, let’s remind ourselves, nothing more than a type of notebook that happens to be small, cheap, and (usually) not exactly bursting with high-performance components. There’s a place for them, just as there’s a place for cars that are small, cheap, and not exactly bursting with high-performance components. And even if netbooks are no longer sexy–and hey, they lost their luster a long time ago–I suspect they’ll be on the market for years to come. Maybe even after some companies which are currently jumping into the tablet market decide to jump back out of it again.

Pundits and industry types love to predict the demise of netbooks; pundits and industry types keep underestimating their appeal. I’m pleased with my iPad, but if I were required by law to own only one computing device, and was forced to choose between an iPad and an Acer netbook, I’d go with the Acer–at least until Apple introduces an iPad with a keyboard. Which it won’t.

How about you?

 
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3 Comments For This Post

  1. stevearino Says:

    I am with you. I have a two year old dell mini10v, and while I am envious of the ipad/samsung tab/macbook air crowd….well it just works….great battery life, pretty good form factor;;; and yes spotty performance specs, but all i do is in the clloud……now, if I have about 1200 bucks lying around I might pop for the mb air; but when will that happen?

  2. nick dafo Says:

    i like netbooks even if i dont think i will ever buy one. PCs in general will take a big hit from tablets and phones but they will not go extinct. I have already stopped using any PC and just use android phone and android tablet now but there are many people out there. Some will go the way i have done and some will stay on the PC or use both. But i dont see either one completely dominating.

  3. Brandon Backlin Says:

    In the end it's up to the markets. Manufacturers can keep pushing different goods but if the market does not want them, they don't buy them.

    I do agree wholeheartedly with that 3rd paragraph. For what you get, netbooks are cheaper than tablets. It seems people want to pay more for convenience, a fact that gave birth to the portable computer and phone markets in the first place. However, some netbooks are almost the same size as tablets (minus thickness), but contain much more space and have a more vast software selection. When tablets get spec'ed up to, or beat, or provide a better experience than a netbook (doing GHz-to-GHz comparisons aren't really fair since they are two different architectures) at or below price, then the tablet market will really take off. The user experience of the iPad is debatable since half of the people I see on the webs complain and the other half praise. My opinion is that Android Honeycomb will provide an equal user experience with Windows while being "lighter", but we'll have to wait for the prices of these tablets to make any sound judgments.

    And the netbook is still sexy in some parts of the US. Think Midwest. Packard Bells are too however…

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