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Netbook Sales to Decline, Say Makers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

The IT industry is full of buzzwords, most notably in the mobile space. We've got laptops, notebooks, ultra-portables, netbooks, MIDs, and more acronyms than you can shake a stick at.

We had the chance to sit down with several manufacturers to speak about the trend for netbooks and similar size portables. Their forecast: netbooks to see a decline going into Q3 of this year. One manufacturer, who makes a famous netbook that many associate for use as hackintoshes, told us that its management even wanted to shift resources back into other business areas such as graphics cards and motherboards.

There's more netbook supply than can be had say the manufacturers. There was a lot of hype and excitement that built up, but eventually we fell into the current economic crisis. Despite the idea that netbooks are cheaper to buy, many users already have regular notebooks that they purchased in the last year to three years. This makes netbooks more of a want than a need for many.

There's no denying that netbooks have the portable appeal, but many industry insiders feel that because of their size, they provide a good long-duration computing experience.

Do you have a notebook and a netbook? Do you feel netbooks are useful?

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  • 2 Hide
    judeh101 , June 4, 2009 7:38 AM
    I knew stuff like this would happen.
    oh well, I actually NEED a netbook, I use it for school everyday, for taking notes, finishing assignments, it's quite useful.
    I'd say "Support Netbooks!"
  • 0 Hide
    adbat , June 4, 2009 7:41 AM
    Netbook on ion will be very useful - it would be good to see a true dual core processor in them soon.
    Also screen size does not have to be there main feature.
    I do not believe that the sails will fall as long as manufactures and developers will put new features in them 11"-13" screen multi touch track pad and so on.
  • 1 Hide
    08nwsula , June 4, 2009 7:41 AM
    if I want a machine to do everything, I use my desktop. If I want something to carry around I might as well save the money and get a netbook then spend more on my home pc.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • 5 Hide
    Ramar , June 4, 2009 7:50 AM
    I've been in IT for almost ten years now and I love my little 1000HE! At idle and normal desktop use, even at 2.0ghz, the processor stays around room temperature. Netbooks are a wonderful alternative for people that already have a full gaming or otherwise desktop computer.
  • 0 Hide
    zodiacfml , June 4, 2009 8:06 AM
    still can't accept the term/usage since i first heard the term "notebook". when i was in highschool, i immediately thought that the term notebook meant the size of a true notebook and thought "notebooks" were actually the size and weight of books. hehe
    to make it short, it's only in netbooks that i found the words portable and notebook appropriate.
    tried the HP Mini, it is truly usable, portable, and for me, only worthy of the classification of notebook.
  • 1 Hide
    razzb3d , June 4, 2009 9:38 AM
    Their problem with netbooks is the price. Netbooks are naturally cheap. Witch means low profits.

    In my opinion, a true laptop is trully portable. I cannot call a 17 or 18" monstrosity a laptop. In my book it's a desktop with a battery and built in screen.

    Therefore - a netbook is the essence of a notebook.

    (does any of the above make any sense? :) ) )
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 4, 2009 1:57 PM
    Perhaps netbooks will decline, but we all will now buy "mini price efficient mobile laptops" or whatever the case about Psion netbooks came up with...

    I think smaller netbooks are in decline because their price is not relative to a laptop (where they started out with).
    When they can reduce the cost of netbooks, probably the netbooks will continue to sell.
    I'm just waiting for my first eeePc to break down, after which I'd almost certainly buy a new EePc901 or something.

    They are handy as GPS devices, or for taking with you on a small weekend out. They matter less when they get stolen, since they cost less.
  • 0 Hide
    jerther , June 4, 2009 1:58 PM
    Netbooks are naturally cheap. Witch means low profits.

    Maybe and maybe not. I mean, there's ofter more profit to be had on cheap stuff than expensive one. Profit margin or % for nEtbooks would be something interresting to compare with nOtebooks'
  • 0 Hide
    talys , June 4, 2009 2:04 PM
    I have notebooks, a high-end compact ultralight, and a netbook. The netbook IS useful. It's cheap, and I don't care much if it gets broken.

    This makes it ideal to use in a car or near water. What a netbook is not useful for is watching movies (go get an Archos).
  • 1 Hide
    christop , June 4, 2009 2:20 PM
    I think netbooks would be great for use in schools.. Some kids cant afford a laptop so it would be cool if they could check out a netbook from school to take home to use for learning... Kinda like the one laptop per child program....
  • 0 Hide
    theblade , June 4, 2009 2:58 PM
    I have a Desktop for gaming, a notebook and a netbook, and I find myself using the netbook for everything except for gaming, and it´s great for download large files, I leave on all night since it uses very little power, quite useful if you ask me.
    Since I bought the netbook I barely use the notebook any more.
  • 0 Hide
    cadder , June 4, 2009 3:43 PM
    I think retailers have dropped the ball here. I have 2 desktops at work, plus 1 desktop and 2 laptops at home, but I still want a netbook.

    For my use I want a 10" screen, 1GB of ram and more than 16GB of hard drive, and WinXP. PLUS I want good battery life. So I've read reviews of the Samsung NC's, MSI Wind, ASUS 1000HE. All of them sound good but they aren't available in major retailers in my area, and I live in a very large metropolitan area. What I typically find in stores is a small selection of 9" netbooks, and the ones that are occasionally on sale are the stripped models. The ones that have more features are typically priced higher than low end full notebooks. I have found full blown 12" notebooks for less than what some netbooks sell for. If I have to go online and pay over $500 then I'll go to Dell's outlet and buy a 12" business class machine with a dual core processor and Vista.
  • 0 Hide
    hellwig , June 4, 2009 4:01 PM
    @cadder: unfortunately, there's just no profit to be had from a $500 computer. If I recall, there were stories of Best Buy or Office Max or such retailers actually lying to customers and telling them they had no Eee PCs in stock in order to try to coerce them into buying a more expensive computer with a more expensive service plan.

    I know on-line retailers can be hit and miss, but if you can narrow it down to the part number you need (i.e. the part number that has the right hard drive, memory, color, etc...) you should be able to find it no problem. It took forever to find a Acer Aspire One in blue with Win XP, 160GB hdd, and the 6-cell battery, but eventually I was able to order it off NewEgg.
  • 0 Hide
    old_newbie , June 4, 2009 4:31 PM
    The emporer has no clothes on!
    Sorry, I think the IT industry got it wrong. I dont believe there is any market niche for netbooks, and now its starting to show.

    I personally think that market share will go to the ultra capable cell phone (ala Iphone,Pre,BB Storm II...). WiFi capability, 3g (and soon to be 4G), GPS, video, and apps for just about everything...all in the palm of my hand.

    So, what's the advantage of a netbook? bigger screen?
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , June 4, 2009 5:48 PM
    That's why I laugh at that computer with the guy sitting on a bench with a tiny netbook and the girl with her regular laptop being envious of it. YOU HAVE A LAPTOP! YOU DON'T NEED A SMALLER, CRAPPIER NETBOOK! The only way I'd ever waste my money on one is if it around $200 or less and I could throw Linux on it and use it when I can't get to my desktop since I don't really need a full fledged laptop.
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , June 5, 2009 12:08 AM
    netbooks have there uses, as long as they are SMALL, LIGHT and CHEAP. if this isn't the focus your not really making a netbook, your making a kinda small kinda light kinda cheap kinda crap notebook (which is what i prefer personally).
  • 0 Hide
    nacho2k3 , August 21, 2009 9:34 AM
    Personally I look at the Acer Aspire One lineup and feel the same way... too much product for the demand out there. Almost 28 different models?!

    There should be at most three, with the last one being optional:

    -- Ultraportable (8.9-9.9 inch display/base) with two USB plugs, NIC, Wi-Fi ABG, Card reader (SD/MMC and Memory Stick by default) and SSD Hard drive.
    -- Backpacker (10-11 inch) with a sturdy base and solid enough construction to make a good fit in a school backpack (provided the kid has enough good sense not to drop the backpack in the first place), more USB ports, bigger resolution.
    -- Enthusiast (11-12 inch, no larger than 12) with a faster processor and cheap dedicated graphics output (okay, mine basically... but I can play a MMORPG away from home at 20fps for $400... not bad considering I couldn't do that before without a netbook/laptop at all.)

    Price shouldn't exceed a 12 inch or better machine, otherwise, there's no point to making the netbook. $500 should be the cap. (ASUS N10, though I like the video card provided, is not a netbook for $600: for the same price, you can get a comparable laptop that's 16" and a much better processor/FSB operating for you at the cost of "it's not small".) Portability doesn't justify weaker hardware if the price is same as something else. Netbooks fulfill the lower end, therefore they're useful.

    As for utility, the netbook isn't for everyone. If you can't imagine a use for it, or can't tolerate lower-spec machines when a better one is $120-200 away, damn the fad and don't get one. But I don't see them going away, either. A tiny, dispensible laptop for field work, IT network analysis, inventory (when more data is needed than a Pocket PC or 2-line LCD terminal is needed), field research or data collection, troubled author who wants a cheap typing pad for inspiration... there's countless uses if there's more focused development made and not just a focus on "consumer wants a pink netbook for 12-year-old daughter". (Girl geeks need PC's too, not knocking that...) Personalization and squabbles over which low-cost machine is better isn't the questions to answer in the long run... It's a single-tasker... and if you don't like black or white, that's why God made stickers.

    Culling the herd doesn't have to mean the farm is shutting down, maybe there's better cattle to be had later by getting rid of some competition?