Liliputing reports that Toshiba America has no plans to release new netbooks here in the States. An unnamed Toshiba executive confirmed that the company will instead focus on pumping out ultrabooks like the Portege Z830 series. Ultrabooks offer a thin and light form factor, but feature superior performance and a heftier price tag than netbooks.
At one time Toshiba was one of the more popular netbook manufacturers with enthusiasts. This was mostly due to its large, easy to use keyboards. Toshiba has manufactured netbooks for a number of years and may still sell the devices internationally. Case in point: The Toshiba NB510 revealed at CES 2012. This netbook features an Intel Atom N2600 Cedar Trail processor but won't be released here.
Toshiba is likely pulling out of the netbook race locally because sales just aren't there. Consumers are flocking to tablets and, as of late, ultrabooks. Currently rivals Acer, HP and Asus are still releasing the low-end portable systems, but Dell and Lenovo have officially pulled out of the local netbook market. Sony and Samsung still haven't launched a new model this year.
Overall, netbook shipments are down 34-percent from last year and now account for about 5-percent of global PC shipments. Looking ahead, they may soon be wiped off the face of the PC sector, replaced by low-end ultrabooks. Because Intel reportedly won't lower Ivy Bridge CPU prices, manufacturers are compromising by throwing in cheaper Sandy Bridge CPUs, swapping out SSD for HDDs, and using cheap batteries. This class will likely be a bit pricier than netbooks, but the tradeoff is better performance. For those looking for something in the netbook price range, these models will be far easier to tolerate budget-wise than the pricier high-end $800+ ultrabooks.