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Technology Changes To Kill Netbooks?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the natural-selection dept.

Hardware 394

The BBC is reporting that the netbook craze may already be nearing the end of its run. Citing rising netbook prices and many other evolving technologies that can potentially fill that gap, some critics think that the limited power of netbooks will ultimately bring about the quick demise of the once popular device. "Ian Drew, spokesman for chip designer Arm, also believes netbooks are in for a shake-up. Consumers, he said, were chafing against the restrictions that using a netbook imposed on them. 'We have failed the consumer because we have imposed constraints on them,' he said. Changing web habits and greater use of social media will mean consumers will be looking for gadgets that are tuned to specific purposes. 'It will be a lot of different machines for a lot of different people,' he said. 'This whole market will be exploding in the next couple of years.' Impetus for this change will come, he believes, from the phone world where many, many types of gadgets are already blooming."

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Will the same happen to phones? (4, Interesting)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615336)

I wonder whether or not the same thing will happen to phones. As people use their phone for more and more, will the cost rise so much that it will be prohibitively expensive? Does this mean that, at least for the near future, the idea of a phone as a true personal computer is just a device from science fiction stories(just like flying cars)?

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (1)

Foredecker (161844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615394)

Perhaps - though we do see technology becoming cheaper and more powerful over time. My first Intel 286 based PC was $2,500 and had a whopping 128KB of memory.

Today, my iPhone has orders of magnitude more processing power, memory, storage and screen pixles. Its just a few hundred bucks.

I think we are heading to more powerful, small and cheaper devices. One of the defining things will be physical screen size (not pixel resolution). I think there will be four first order sizes:

  1. The pocket/portable sizes. Things like phones that you can carry all the time. There will be various sizes, but there is an upper limit - perhaps something a little larger than todays iPhone.
  2. A range of mobile sizes - these are (and will be) more laptop like devices - clam shells and slates. These wont be pocket able, but they will range in size from 10" screens on up to 14 or 15 inches.
  3. Desktop and mobile devices with larger screens, 17" on up for mobile, and 20 on up for desktops.
  4. TVs

Some people collapse the 2nd and 3d categories into one and talk about "Three screens". This is how Ballmer currently sees things [] ,

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (3, Informative)

tacarat (696339) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615482)

Part of the problem isn't the hardware.

Many contemporary netbook models run Windows XP or Windows 7 which has forced the specifications, and price, upwards. Many, he said, now cost at least £350, a figure close to that for a more capable full-size laptop.

I wonder if licensing costs will be enough of a factor to help edge linux back (or get manufacturer support increased) onto netbooks. It seems XP was ok, but I'm curious what the price difference is for a crippled windows 7 install. I've seen returns on those netbooks because the buyer couldn't change the background!

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (3, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615692)

Please don't use Bing. It didn't return any relevant results.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (5, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615500)

They've been predicting the "specialized computer" for 25 years now, and what's actually happened is that even specialized devices like cell phones and music players are in fact evolving towards becoming general computing platforms. In other words, this guy is completely wrong.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (4, Informative)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615590)

the article should be tagged FUD, really.

MS doesn't like netbooks because of a lack of margin, so they try to put out press whenever they can against the concept.

In reality, netbook sales are WAY up [] , which isn't a sign of them going down.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615752)

I agree. I bought a Droid recently, and without trying to give it a shameless plug (I'm sure iphone is similar) I was amazed at how well it served my purposes when away from my computer. I don't feel any need at all for a netbook now. And, it fits in my pocket and makes phone calls...

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615754)

They've been predicting the "specialized computer" for 25 years now, and what's actually happened is that even specialized devices like cell phones and music players are in fact evolving towards becoming general computing platforms. In other words, this guy is completely wrong.


Re:Will the same happen to phones? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615868)

I agree. Ian Drew is the vice president of marketing at ARM Ltd. ARM sells chip technologies used in embedded devices and their competitors are Intel and AMD. Of course ARM Ltd would love if everyone bought "specialized" devices powered by the ARM Ltd technology instead of Intel/AMD powered general use netbooks. How he thinks a specific embedded device is less constrained than a netbook is beyond me. I think it's cool to browse the web from my ARM Ltd powered 42in LCD TV but I'll bet my next years salary that I can do more on the internet with my $250 netbook than I can with that TV. Think about ti though.. You will pay more for a web enabled DVD player, TV, and home stereo receiver, do you really need all three to be web enabled? The additional cost of those with the web enabled features will probably cost as much as a netbook plugged into the TV that you can browse from plus provide about 100x more functionality.

Here is an interview he had back in Jan 2009 []


Re:Will the same happen to phones? (2, Interesting)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615512)

Or the other possibility, a cheap GSM/G3 modem for the netbook, especially if the modem also had all the low end phone fuctionality, I often use a Nokia 3100 instead of my N95 if I only want to make/receive calls.

The real trouble with handhelds is that they have suffered from feature bloat, and reduced battery life, without a usable keyboard, which could be in mat-flexi format and 1400x900 screen.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615746)

I hope we see one of two scenarios play out with what you're speaking of:

1. Tethering. For a low added cost - not the easily double cost of adding tethering to an existing account. I would be willing to pay $5 more to be able to tether to my laptop - even at the crippled 5GB limit imposed by most (all?) carriers today. With ATT, my current carrier, they want another $30 on top of the $30 I pay them already for the PDA plan.

2. That GSM/3g modem in your netbook? Would be cool to see it tied to the already paid for phone/data plan. This way I'm not paying again for a service that I already have. Again - maybe $5 a month to have another device on that internet plan? Kind of like a family plan for internet.....

This would really make the cell broadband options take off, in my opinion - and let's face it, if I'm tethering or using my laptop with a dedicated card, I'm not going to have the mindset to "double dip" with my phone using the data at the same time.....

This is really not happening. (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615646)

The netbook is just the first of many. We got a nice device outside of the Wintel duopoly and people discovered that they loved it. Then the duopoly imivated their own version, locking down specs and defining it to be what they wanted it to be - in the process driving up the price and netting them a bunch of embarassing low-margin sales, but at least preventing the other guys from reaping the full benefit of their innovation. If OEMs want to create new things and keep control of the markets they create all that's needed is to avoid platforms Windows can run on.

I think that OEMs are coming to understand that there is a market for any device that enables and empowers individuals to do new things - if it's portable and reliable and doesn't impose unnecessary restrictions. It's not really about the widget, it's about the people.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615864)

As people use their phone for more and more, will the cost rise so much that it will be prohibitively expensive?

Phones will add features - hence size, weight and cost till they become what netbooks are now. In the meantime netbooks will have done the same until they've become laptops, laptops will have done likewise until they've become desktop replacement laptops. Then something like miniphones will [re]appear and fill the niche where phones used to be, thus closing the cycle.

Rinse and repeat.

Re:Will the same happen to phones? (0, Offtopic)

arslion (1208042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615886)

i dont think it will happen.... []

These statements seem at odds with each other. (5, Insightful)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615344)

'We have failed the consumer because we have imposed constraints on them,'


Changing web habits and greater use of social media will mean consumers will be looking for gadgets that are tuned to specific purposes.

Re:These statements seem at odds with each other. (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615386)

Thank you. Somebody please mod this to 11, it illustrates the entire article.

Re:These statements seem at odds with each other. (3, Interesting)

Fishchip (1203964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615498)

I don't understand statement 2. Are we going to have a Twitter gadget and a Facebook gadget?

These guys didn't fail consumers. Consumers have choice. They would have failed if every laptop being produced was a netbook and every other old laptop instantly turned to ash. If buddy bought a netbook and cries cos it can't play Crysis, well, that's his own fault for not doing basic research.

This author hails, I think, from the same school of thought as Sony, where they market their Vaio W models (which are kickass little netbooks if you don't mind apparently not being able to install Linux on them) as half-assed computers that should mainly be used while you're slumming around the house watching TV and need spot internet access. What the fuck kind of thinking is that?

The statements are fine. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615552)

"They" failed in the sense that they created a product for simple web browsing. The netbook is a failure because people still want to be able to burn CDs and DVDs, watch DVDs, play games that require > netbook spec hardware.

Soon you'll see the "DVD Netbook" and the "Gamer's Netbook" and the "Touch Netbook with extended battery life and cell modem with flipout nightlight".

Both statements are fine. You can fail and adjust. This is wonderful business.

Re:The statements are fine. (4, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615628)

You would not need to have a DVD drive if you could easily transfer the files to your disk, so you could playback the media.

CDs and DVDs are overrated. A USB pen can store a lot more in a smaller form factor.

It's a niche product. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615668)

It's not a failure because the majority of mobile device users haven't embrace it. I have DVD drive on my Thinkpad. I've used it maybe twice in three years. All my data comes to me over the wire instead of on dead dinosaur media. Burn CDs? Hello, iPod?

Re:It's a niche product. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615894)

Yes, I don't have a netbook because my Thinkpad X200 comes so close to my needs. I chose it because it has no optical drive, while still having other Thinkpad qualities I care for. I have a tiny USB2 bus-powered DVD+-RW drive from Lenovo which I can connect once in a blue moon when I need to read a disc. It also lacks a touchpad and just has the trackpoint "pointy stick", another plus in my mind. I get a better keyboard for the same footprint.

It has a decent core2duo CPU, lots of RAM, a decent performing HDD (I haven't opted for SSD yet, though I could), a full size keyboard (identical layout to all my other thinkpads), fast networking options so I can actually get bulk data in and out, and a compact 12" widescreen form factor that is still quite light and thin, while feeling solidly engineered. Also, I can use this machine docked to a desktop monitor and feel OK, unlike when I tried using an Asus Eee Box and found it painfully slow. Meanwhile, this laptop idles at around 10.5 W on battery with a dimmed display and wireless enabled under Linux (almost identical to my idle Eee Box, even though that device lacks an LCD display). So I can get nearly 4 hours of battery life sitting online with basic low overhead web browsing (like typing this message). But when I do something more challenging, it actually responds, though it of course eats power for a brief period.

While I wouldn't argue against getting better battery life, I rejected a larger battery because it adds weight and this one is already good enough for my needs. I would love to see a device like this get more power efficient and encroach on the netbook niche... if they improve the display and CPU power usage, it could go all day or sport a smaller battery and sport a bit less cooling system too. Another problem is the power consumption of the networking options, but as far as I have heard, that is also a problem for the netbooks... they cease to have all day battery life when you actually use WLAN or WWAN peripherals. My X200 gets insane battery life if I turn off the networking adapters, but that also means I am running efficient apps instead of Mozilla on a bunch of wasteful Javascript and/or Flash.

I'd like to see something like this get as thin and light as a regular magazine, but I don't want to see it get any narrower and lose the keyboard. It already fits nicely into an old portfolio-style case I have from a previous Thinkpad X20, and slips easily into a book bag. Meanwhile, I would like to see more data functionality in my phone, but I refuse to use a smartphone because they are still too big to ride around in my pocket all day. (My current phone is about 70% the size of an Iphone and already a bit larger than I'd like.)

Re:The statements are fine. (2, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615912)

That's very true. That said, part of what makes the netbook so appealing is that the lack of processor power gives it the potential for battery life that wouldn't be practical with a faster CPU. I'd like a computer primarily for word processing, occasional light duty coding, etc. that I can carry easily with me on multi-hour airplane flights.

Here's what I want in a Netbook:

  • Reduced footprint/display height for use on airplanes
  • Average of 12 hour battery life
  • Dual-core Atom CPU
  • A real desktop OS like Linux or Mac OS X that allows apps full access to the hardware, the drive, etc.
  • 256GB SATA flash drive from a reputable vendor.
  • Built-in flash reader that can handle BOTH CompactFlash cards and SD cards.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • One USB port for the rare occasion when anyone needs it.
  • Wired ethernet.
  • FireWire 800 port so that its internal hard drive can easily be accessed from a desktop computer. Alternatively, eSATA would be okay if the silicon can be used bidirectionally.
  • Mini-DVI output because VGA is going away and I think it's only a couple bucks difference in silicon cost.
  • Software that makes it easy to rip DVDs on another computer and push them into the iTunes library on this device (or similar).
  • Full-size keys. Rearrange and shrink the modifier keys, backspace, return, esc, ~, |, etc. to cut half an inch off the width if needed. Push the keyboard out to the left and right edges of the top case.
  • No-border display. Why waste potential screen real estate on a black or white plastic border around the screen?
  • Small trackpad.
  • Removable battery. This might not be necessary if you could guarantee at least 8 hours with the CPU at full bore; with my current laptop, I can go through two "6-hour" batteries in an afternoon without much effort at all, mainly because several apps I use are written so badly.

What I don't want:

  • Built-in camera for video conferencing (unless you can find a way to have one without adding a border around the screen).
  • VGA connector.
  • Optical drive.
  • Modem.
  • Soldered RAM or flash parts on the logic board.

What I don't care about:

  • price point (within reason)
  • thickness (within reason)

For me it's about portability and battery life. The problem is that every person you ask has different goals in a netbook. That's why it is important that there be a wide range of models with radically different characteristics. The only viable alternative to that is a handful of full-sized notebooks that try to be everything to everyone.

Re:These statements seem at odds with each other. (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615640)

I don't see them as necessarily opposed. Consumers want general computing power for any of their gadgets, but they can be differentiated by their user interface or other methods which emphasize a specific task.
For example the iPhone and Blackberry are both smartphones, however their design differences are tuned to different audiences. You can do pretty much any task on each device, but the iPhone is geared towards seeing/listening to media, while the Blackberry's keyboard makes productivity applications easier.

Re:These statements seem at odds with each other. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615662)

Amen, what an asshat that guy is.

Not the same thing (4, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615354)

Handhelds such as the iPhone and Android family don't allow for touch typing. Netbooks allow touch typing and as such, they will always have a place as a laptop replacement.

The main thing that would dethrone netbooks would be an external bluetooth keyboard for a smartphone, and it's interesting to note that even the popular iPhone doesn't officially support one, though it can be done with a hack.

Also, netbooks generally run some flavor of Windows which allows people to have a laptop/desktop experience on the road. Handhelds don't quite replicate that experience, though as we move more of our data and applications online the local operating system will become increasingly irrelevant.

The bottom line is that for at least the near future, netbooks still have their place, mainly as a replacement for more fully featured laptops for most purposes, and eventually they will probably be themselves partially displaced by handhelds for most people.

Re:Not the same thing (3, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615406)

Each format has advantages, but the reason netbooks sell is they are cheaper than more powerful ultraportables of the same size. Speed is always good.

That leaves room for a speed race and will push lots of netbooks to the used market (where geeks can exploit teh cheepness!).

"netbooks still have their place, mainly as a replacement for more fully featured laptops for most purposes, and eventually they will probably be themselves partially displaced by handhelds for most people."

Fully featured laptops are dirt cheap, especially refurb units. Handheld screens are too small for many users. I don't see one format as a threat to another because the market is huge and many people own many devices.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615862)

"That leaves room for a speed race"

Whenever I see another "eee killer", I ask one question: What is the price? More than eee? Sorry, this won't fly.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615486)

netbooks generally run some flavor of Windows which allows people to have a laptop/desktop experience on the road. Handhelds don't quite replicate that experience

The Pandora PDA, (finally) due out this month, runs a Linux operating system and can run any Linux app that either is free software or is recompiled for ARM, which fits in RAM, and whose window fits in 800x480px.

though as we move more of our data and applications online the local operating system will become increasingly irrelevant.

Web applications won't dethrone local applications until WebGL and offline storage extensions become commonplace. Games written in JavaScript have limits, and not everybody wants to have to buy a $1,440 per 24 months service plan in order to work away from Wi-Fi.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615782)

Right now I am in limbo. I am waiting for both Open Pandora and the Touch Book to allow regular orders. Both use the same basic processor and have similar stats, though the touch book is more netbook and the pandora is more portable game system. The first one to ship will get me to buy one this year.

Re:Not the same thing (2, Insightful)

Cheburator-2 (260358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615494)

No, netbooks have a much larger displays that smartphone. If you are going to watch films/photos, browse the web or even read the books, then you need larger screen than smartphone's 3.5".

Re:Not the same thing (1)

mewshi_nya (1394329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615600)

I agree - I just found out how to get internet on my phone (without paying verizon) and it's nearly unusable unless you're looking for windows mobile apps to install directly.

As far as watching videos: My S10 does a fine job with DVD rips, even the high-quality ones. Not sure about Blu-Ray rips, but no need for those here.

I love my netbook because it's small; it's great for wardriving on a bus (Yes, I can't drive) and it's perfect for in classes, since most professors don't care about the tiny, quiet computers.

LaptopSmartphoneNetbookThin Client (4, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615560)

All of these technologies can be considered stop-gaps until we have enough bandwidth to support either thin or hybrid thin/network-bootable clients. The only difference between a smart-phone and a laptop (or workstation) should be it's dimensions and form. If I store my data and environment on the network I can be almost device agnostic. I can use any workstation and access all my data, applications and any running processes. I can upgrade my system or expand/add capacity without needing to replace a single device. If you have the money why not carry a super computer in your pocket? Just don't carry the super computer parts.

Re:LaptopSmartphoneNetbookThin Client (1)

tendrousbeastie (961038) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615666)

I completely agree with this statement. Bandwidth is the commodity that will really change things, not CPU power or any other measurement. Once we have sufficient bandwidth to render the physical location of the storage device redundant then we will see change.

At that point all our devices will become equally important, as they will all become interfaces for the same data.

Tell it to the kids (2, Insightful)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615582)

wen evrything u say is n txts, u dont need 2 touch type

Re:Not the same thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615586)

I use Colemak with AnySoftKeyboard for Android and you better believe you can touch-type on it. Two thumbs, granted, but if you're looking at the output text instead of the keys, it's touch-typing.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615620)

What I think we are actually seeing is just that there isn't going to be a special class of "netbook" anymore. Low end laptops and high end netbooks are unifying to a degree. There are laptops that pack all the high end goodies but are extremely small. There are also netbooks that feature larger screens and such, but still use low power CPUs and so on. More or less, there are just a bunch of portable computers for whatever purpose people want.

So while the concept of a special "netbook" may go away, cheap small computers don't seem to be.

Re:Not the same thing (1)

shrimppesto (766285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615874)

An external bluetooth keyboard for a smartphone? Please. That is sooo 1982. If someone develops a reliable voice input system (i.e. so you can dictate your e-mails), bluetooth keyboards will be toast.

Trust ARM (3, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615370)

ARM has always been smart both in design as well as production (via licensees). While Intel gets all the press ARM is stealing the show and marketshare.

Microsoft (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615516)

ARM's fatal flaw is that it can't run non-free Windows apps that aren't ported to CE. Windows CE netbooks exist [] , but a lot of Slashdot users say they find CE and its limit of 32 MB of RAM per process inadequate for the kinds of things that are done on netbooks nowadays. For example, what CE web browser can display SWF objects?

Re:Microsoft (2, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615598)

its limit of 32 MB of RAM per process

CE 6 increased process address space to 1 GB

For example, what CE web browser can display SWF objects?

I was playing Flash movies on a Pocket PC five+ years ago in Pocket Internet Explorer.

That's not a liability (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615674)

CE sucks. WiMo sucks. The fact that if you use ARM Microsoft and Intel can't swoop in on your party and run off with your guests like they did with netbooks isn't just not a fatal flaw - it's a main reason for going with ARM in the first place.

Re:Trust ARM (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615682)

When is ARM going to release a 64-bit processor? Perhaps they should be concentrating on improving their CPU cores rather than trying to compete with GPU manufacturers.

Re:Trust ARM (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615760)

Why would they need a 64-bit processor?

Does the size of the number impress you? Is it because it's bigger than 32-bit and therefore "obviously" better?

Re:Trust ARM (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615818)

the vast majority of arm processors are fabbed with all components, including RAM on one chip. They won't need a 64bit processor until people start putting close to 4 gigs of ram on chip (most are in the 64meg to 512 meg range). Supposedly qualcom is releasing a dual core 1.5 ghz arm chip with a gig of ram sometime this year, we will see where it goes from there.

failure due to high cost, poor quality (3, Insightful)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615374)

It is not clear if the net book is a good idea, but if you go down to bestbuy or microcenter, you find things that are almost as exspensive as a regular laptop, with cruddy features, poorly designed trackpads with the buttons on the side, tiny screens that need scrolling (is that a fubar or what) and, since they don't run linux, they don't have the 30 second boot time that was one of the most desirable featues - turn it on, check the cloud, turn it off before the first windows splash screen

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615484)

they don't have the 30 second boot time that was one of the most desirable featues - turn it on, check the cloud, turn it off before the first windows splash screen

Who waits for booting when you can just put the machine to sleep/hibernate when you're not using it?!? Shutting down a machine is so last-decade.

Broken device drivers (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615536)

Who waits for booting when you can just put the machine to sleep/hibernate when you're not using it?!?

People who have to make do with broken device drivers that come out of sleep with no sound or (worse) no video. I've seen it happen in both Windows and Linux.

Which netbooks do that? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615570)

Our ASUS Eeepc 1005HA works flawlessly out of the box.

Re:Broken device drivers (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615644)

People who have to make do with broken device drivers that come out of sleep with no sound or (worse) no video. I've seen it happen in both Windows and Linux.

I've been using boring 945GM systems daily for almost four years, and have had very few power management problems (in Windows). They all have the same disk driver, same HD Audio interface, and same graphics device. Each system worked fine with the drivers included.

Re:Broken device drivers (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615858)

My eee 900 with ubuntu 8.04 does it, for one. Going to try installing 9.10 and see if that helps.

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (1)

Anders (395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615900)

Shutting down a machine is so last-decade.

Really? Seems like it was only yesterday ...

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615558)

While the touchpad on our Eeepc 1005HA is indeed annoying, a $15 mini wireless mouse cleaned that up. The low vertical resolution is just part of the packaging if you want a physically small device. We run browsers full screen and it's great. I dunno what the boot time is, we've only booted it a few times. Hibernate works great and it resumes in seconds with the OEM XP installation.

I think you are whinging about a device not designed for you.

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615658)

A lot of that could be fixed with a Instant-on OS that bolts to the main OS, such as Splashtop. I find I use that often on my S10e for fast internet browsing, but can still boot into windows when I need to.

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615694)

> It is not clear if the net book is a good idea,...

If you are a customer it is clear, customers bought the crap outta them. If you are a PC maker it was clear they were a danger and to Microsoft they are a mortal threat. Understand this difference in perspective and everything is clear.

The first attack was Microsoft insisting that netbooks run Windows by threatening the venders OEM deals on their other more profitable lines and on the other hand essentially giving XP away for less than the bundleware. Then, because the original netbooks couldn't really run XP well it gave them the excuse they were looking for to redefine the term into meaninglessness. Now a 'netbook' is any lower end notebook without an optical drive.

remember the original eeePC was aiming at a low price, small and light and basic web access. Not many 'netbooks' meet that definition.

Now look at the inbound ARM wave. Already the attacks are beginning to ensure none are something customers will like. Linux is out, I doubt any will run it. Google doesn't really count, by the time they got through with it customers lose all of it's benefits and and only have the dubious privacy invading Google features. And while we wait for Chrome to emerge from the vapor, note how even the generic Chinese crap suddenly stopped loading Linux in favor of WinCE. And while ARM should have allowed new low price points to be hit, again that isn't what seems to be the plan. Upcoming product will be expensive high powered HD video chomping stuff subsidized by cell carriers with battery life the only killer feature to try tackling the mighty Wintel duopoly. Anyone smell the fail yet?

Put out a sub kilogram machine with better than eight (real world) hours of runtime, a week of standby, and good enough computing to do web browsing and light productivity and I suspect you would find youself in original eeePC 900 territory, unable to make enough to satisfy demand the first year. But I doubt it will ever get built. A year ago I figured some generic Chinese factory with no need to worry about Microsoft would eventually make one and it would find distribution through channels that don't have a current notebook line to worry about it being canibalized. But watching how fast CE monopolized the generic machines I now see there isn't any such factory.

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615756)

I think it's ultimate success has more to do with price. $400 netbooks are doomed to get squeezed into irrelevance, but at $200, netbooks fill a niche for a flexible, low-powered, general-purpose (software loadable) platform. I am looking into buying one to use when we go on vacation (for airline check-ins, looking up restaurants, making hotel reservations, etc...) I know others that use them for media players, alarm clocks, etc.

Re:failure due to high cost, poor quality (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615822)

I find he GP is right about the screen size though. The biggest improvement I'd make to netbook is to move to a 1024x768 or better resolution screen. I'd even give up a bit more processor power for it. The screen resolution is what I find really crippling about my netbook. If it had a better screen, I could probably even use it for software development, instead of limited browsing, etc.

Rising prices? (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615384)

What's he talking about? The Wikipedia says the Eee PC was introduced at a price of $399 US. Taking a wander around the racks at the local electronics retailer suggests that the average netbook, which has considerably better specs than the Eee is priced around $300-$350 CAN, which some being as cheap as $250 CAN.

Bullshit. It can never die. (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615390)

it fills a very important need slot : fast, small, web capable device that you can carry around and with capabilities of a normal low end office pc.

as long as people are on the move and need to connect to web from a capable device (of the capabilities of a pc), that need will never cease. its not about 'social networks' or anything, its about a very common need.

i dont know from where the shitty need to link everything with social networks and whatnot comes. probably they are just playing along with the fad.

Abuses of SWF (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615556)

i dont know from where the shitty need to link everything with social networks and whatnot comes.

Possibly because the "low end office PC" has started to become inadequate for users' needs in the face of web sites' abuses of SWF and the like.

Amen. (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615566)

My exact same thoughts as I read the summary/article; why would netbooks fade away? They fill a gap that must be filled: an ultra-portable computer. Laptops are not the same, and phones have nowhere near the capabilities for a lot of people. Yes, mobile phones are getting more and more technologically advanced by the quarter, and yes, I'm loving every bit of it, but netbooks will still hold their own.

Re:Bullshit. It can never die. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615884)

Agree, I got an eepc (an older model in the $250 range) with a 160G hard drive. I boosted the memory to 2G, and installed full Ubuntu plus Skype. Works great on the road for most purposes. Dealing with the keyboard and screen is a little cumbersome, but they are bigger than my smartphone keyboard and screen, run a fully capable OS, have decent memory and disk capacity, and are far less cumbersome than a full sized "laptop". If netbooks are being phased out it is not the consumer, but the industry that is changing the game. It is too bad that they are not being shipped with full Lunux distributions. Crippled Linux is a non-winner when you can get it and Windows whatever will naturally push the price point.


Not for a lot of us. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615416)

Mine (Acer aspire) was less than $300, is small and light enough to take along every day, and
is powerful enough to support the work I do (sw development). All three are important for me
to have my work with me all the time. Any more expensive and I'd think twice about taking it
everywhere. At $300 if I loose it or break it it's annoying but easy enough to replace. Any
bigger or heavier and I'd think twice about throwing it in my backpack every day. Any less power,
or no keyboard, and I couldn't do my work. It's in the sweet spot for portable computing. Sure
more battery time would be nice, but not at the expense of the keyboard, the power, or the
manageable size and low cost.

predicted convergence unlikely (4, Interesting)

r7 (409657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615430)

Impetus for this change will come, he believes, from the phone world

The predicted convergence is very unlikely for two reasons: keyboard and display. It is not possible to be as productive on a less-than 25cm wide cell phone keyboard as on a netbook, and nobody has holsters or shirt pockets large enough for a real keyboard. The same holds true for displays. Phones are fine for reading WAP-enabled HTML and composing short emails or text messages, but that's not what people use netbooks for.

Apple's rumored iSlate, an iPhone with ports for keyboard and monitor, may work for some but the hassle of carrying around a keyboard/monitor won't be easier than carrying around a netbook, and netbooks will always have far more CPU and RAM.

I have to agree with my engineering friends on the other side of the pond and chalk up another faux-pas to the BBC, whose website, streaming audio, and tech reporting have never been particularly cutting edge. Not that our own NPR/PRI does tech any better.

Re:predicted convergence unlikely (2, Informative)

Cheburator-2 (260358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615568)

Exactly. Some people don't understand that netbooks fill exactly the same niche that Sony Vaio's filled before them: lightweight universal computers, but with display and keyboard large enough to be productive for the most computer task. "Universal" is important part here: some people would browse the web, others would write some documents, watch films, sort pictures from photocameras or even play games. I even have IDE installed and happily code while on the road. You cannot do that with smartphone!

Re:predicted convergence unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615724)

The iSlate is not to be an iPhone with ports for keyboard and monitor.
It's to be an tablet computer. and as it's a computer it will have USB ports so you can if you like plug in a keyboard. And most likly also have a mini displayport on it.

You do not need to drag a keyboard with you.
And if you give it a try, then the thought screen keyboard is easy to use.

For selfish reasons, I hope not (-1, Troll)

davebarnes (158106) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615432)

I have a vested interest in Netbooks being successful: []

Wintel (3, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615440)

Microsoft and Intel have been very uninterested in netbooks since they don't have the same market share as full size laptops. That's why the third generation of Atom chips aren't really any faster than the first generation and why the version of Windows 7 that gets stuck on a netbook is so limited you can't even change the background.

But other companies, without a large amount of profit coming from fullsize laptops, will jump at the chance to increase their bottom line. Ubuntu and ARM for example, have nothing to lose by offering netbook products, since they don't have any real marketshare in the laptop market.

AMD has been suspiciously quiet the last couple of years. I'm waiting to see if they might come out with an "Atom-killer". And don't forget Via. They already have a competent netbook chip.

There's definitely a market demand for low cost netbooks, so Intel and Microsoft can continue ignore this segment and risk that their competitors will take it away, or they can get in the game themselves. I think we'll see a real change in the netbook market maybe not this year, but early in 2011 as more and more alternatives to Atom and Windows 7 become available.

Re:Wintel (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615764)

I don't know about an Atom-Killer (I prefer Atom-Smasher for reasons I feel explain themselves) but they have perfectly competitive products in both single and dual-core configurations; ULV Athlon 64 L110 for single, Athlon Neo for dual. I can only speak to the performance of the single-core, which beats the pants off the basic Atoms with lame graphics against which they are positioned in the market.

Netbooks fail in one point (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615456)

battery life!

Netbooks are the portable typewriter of the 21th century

Re:Netbooks fail in one point (1)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615574)

battery life!

Huh? I'm typing this on an Eee with a 64 Whr battery that lasts over eight hours of normal use. I'm rarely away from a charging point for longer than that. This machine has totally changed my computing life: I take it with me everywhere (1.3 kg!) and while it's never going to win awards for speed it runs adequately fast. I've got cygwin loaded on it and even do a little Python development as well as word processing, Web browsing and e-mail. It pretty much hits the sweet spot between a PDA/smartphone (I have a Blackberry, and while it's ok, it doesn't fill the "computer" niche at all well) and a desktop machine (or even a full-sized laptop, which is what I used to use for most ordinary computing tasks.)

Blame intel (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615466)

Just look at their newest atom offering, its deliberately poor. They are also not releasing duel core netbook atoms anymore(they will only allow them for desktop solutions). Why? It doesn't fit their business model and they want to sell expensive notebooks and desktops with their crappy chipsets. If you want a better chipset (say from nvidia) then you have to pay more for the atom. Also Microsoft pushing vendors to use windows 7 and not xp or linux. Due to all this vendor bullying the price has been inflated massively.

My eee901 can play a plethora of decent 3d games and is surprisingly powerful, full screen movies work fine and the screen is a great size and it has a ~8 hour battery life. It fits all the requirements I have of it. I can buy a similar netbook with the exact same components today and pay twice the price I paid for the 901.

Re:Blame intel (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615624)

They are also not releasing duel core netbook atoms anymore(they will only allow them for desktop solutions). Why? It doesn't fit their business model and they want to sell expensive notebooks and desktops with their crappy chipsets.

Bullshit. The dual-core Atom CPUs use much more power than the Atom N270/N280.

I can buy a similar netbook with the exact same components today and pay twice the price I paid for the 901.

Bullshit. Netbook prices are lower today.

Re:Blame intel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615716)

Parent should be modded "-1 Bullshit". :>

A "tablet computer" *is* a "netbook". (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615468)

The distinction between "netbook with keyboard" and "tablet with keyboard emulator" is more a choice of the options you're interested in than a difference in technology.

With luck, the current generation of dedicated ebook readers will shuffle off to proprietary hell, and low end netbooks and tablets will replace them as the high end of handhelds.

But not running pure tethered platforms like Chrome OS, please.

Net(book)craft confirms it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615490)

Netbooks are dying!!!

Evolving != dying (3, Informative)

toppavak (943659) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615504)

It seems that netbooks in the 7-9" range have started to disappear, instead they've grown slightly (both in size and specs) to essentially have become 10" cheap laptops. I know many people that use them as machines to take while traveling (especially internationally) and even more people that use them as their primary portable (typically with a larger laptop or desktop relegated to, well, the desk). $300 for a small, durable laptop with more than enough performance to do word-processing, web browsing and watch movies on, most which get 5+ hours of battery life (depending on usage) is still an amazing deal.

A good indication of their continuing success is the fact that 10" netbooks still account for 4 out of 5 of the top sellers [] in the computers and accessories categories on Amazon.

Re:Evolving != dying (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615632)

Many 9" netbooks were physically the same size as 10" models. The 9" screens usually had the same resolution (1024x600) as do the 10" screens.

This goes against a thousand years of history... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615506)

'It will be a lot of different machines for a lot of different people,'

What bullshit. People are predictable, and as with languages, humans will always simplify. If we can make it easier then we will use it.

To use the car analogy: The reason I don't own a motorcycle, a car, and an SUV (one for efficiency, one for general use, one for adverse weather conditions) is because I simply don't have room/money for three vehicles. These items take resources from our lives, just as these portable devices do. I'm sometimes annoyed enough as it is that I have to carry around my keys, my cellphone, wallet, and my keyfob. I'd only carry a netbook/notebook if I needed the additional computing power (or a keyboard, for that matter). Otherwise, my Droid works just fine for most other things. The point is is that we do not want more devices, we want consolidation. We want a one-stop shop because, simply, we don't have the resources to purchase a multitude of devices.

Blame Intel... and the manufacturers... (3, Insightful)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615530)

We've had the Atom for about 18 months now, and it's about to be replaced by a newer version that... runs at the same speed.

This is where the major problem lies. Those 18 months have seen CULV CPUs come down in price and go up in performance, but the Atom is sat there anchored to a 1.6GHz speed, most likely for another year or so. The other kicker is that the 7" and 9" machines with SSDs were soon replaced by 10" and 12" models with HDDs which blurs the line considerably to the extent that a netbook is now just a laptop with a slow CPU. The benefits of the small footprint and limitations of small storage have been lost.

Some people will still say that they can do all their basic stuff on a netbook, but when you can fork out an extra $100 and get something like a Dell 11z or 13z (Core 2 Duo 1.3GHz, 9 hour battery life), I really don't see the point.

The return of the Bat-Belt (5, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615562)

> Changing web habits and greater use of social media will mean consumers will be looking for gadgets that are tuned to specific purposes.

Yeah, sure. As a consumer I really want to load my belt with my phone, my music player, my pda, my pager, my tag reader, my gps, my ebook reader and whatnot. I don't mind having ten different battery-chargers in my living room. What I don't want is a 300$ netbook because it does not have a specific purpose.

Which reminds me: when will best buy sell a Facebook device, a Slashdot reader and a youtube player? Cause I still have three inches left on my belt to hook gadgets.

No, they just aren't making Netbooks (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615572)

The problem is the things that make a netbook so desirable by a lot of people - amazing battery life and small form factor - are being discarded by hardware makers. They are insisting consumers want more powerful devices, so they are beefing up processor and memory which eats into battery life. Similarly, they are insisting users need larger screens which increases form factor and also eats into battery life.

So basically hardware makers are wandering into small laptop territory, when I'm not sure the core Netbook market is really moving at all - it's just the hardware makers are moving away from it and finding people don't want what they are making as much.

Re:No, they just aren't making Netbooks (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615642)

When I owned an Acer Aspire ONE, I wanted to browse the web and fart around on the internet.

When I found out that Youtube would be hit or miss, I got a little angry, but didn't get angry with the machine because quite honestly, the price was right.

Marekting will kill the netbook (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615576)

As they demand more and more laptop features ( and higher costs ).. as eventually they will become laptops and the market will vanish. The people will still want them, but they wont exist. ( barely do now )

Re:Marekting will kill the netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615696)

You fail to notice that technology moves on. Over time CPUs get smaller and cheaper, same for memory and storage. There's no reason why the netbook form factor won't reach whatever you're using as a desktop today in just a few years. Compare today's netbooks to what standard PCs were ten years ago. Heck, compare smart-phones like the Droid or N900 to the same PCs.

Best of all worlds (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615588)

Cheap, small, foldable screen or keyboard (so you can use it as touchscreen or laptop), good (not great, just enough) resolution and speed, Thats the point to which a lot of things seems to be converging, from the cellphone arena (i.e. the Nokia N900, Palm Pre or some Android based phones ) or the note/net books arena (like the Asus T91, Fujitsu Lifebook and a lot of others) and probably more around (iSlate?). 3G connection, gps, even tv receiver are usual extras.

So netbooks have a future, at least if can be used as tablets too.

What's important about a netbook (1)

johnkzin (917611) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615592)

To me, what's important about a netbook, is:

1) size -- 7" - 12" screen

2) price -- under $600

3) functionality -- runs the basics (real web browser, terminal or dedicated ssh client, vnc viewer, IM, document viewers)

4) shape -- the above things can also be applied to "tablets", but the difference between a mid-range tablet and a mid-range "clamshell" is the keyboard. The "mid-range clamshell" is a "netbook" (with or without the swivel screen/convertible tablet capability). Not a smartbook, not a sub-notebook, etc. Those are just market-droid's attempts to re-brand and differentiate from past models of the same thing. It's a netbook.

I personally don't think #1 will ever go away, whether you call it a "netbook", "smartbook", or "sub-notebook".

I don't think the price is going to really have a huge change either. Sure, some netbooks are getting more expensive. But, some "laptops" are also coming down to a price point that competes with netbooks.

As for functionality, as time marches forward, the capabilities of devices in that size and price rang will increase. That's a given. So, eventually, netbooks will run more than just the basics. But the point is: they need to always run those basics well.

So, while the marketing blurbs may change, and the exact numbers might change, I'm willing to bet that the actual device category (7-12 inch screen, well under $100, runs basic apps) is here to stay. The only thing I think that might change ... is that someone might come up with a truly compelling device that matches 1-3, but doesn't keep the keyboard. Maybe it'll be the EnTourage eDGe (dual screen tablet, like the OLPC2 concept, or the Microsoft Courier). Maybe it'll be a plain tablet (Notion Ink Adam, or the highly anticipated Apple tablet). Maybe it's something we haven't envisioned yet.

I want a small light notebook (4, Interesting)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615604)

I need a real computer. I would like to be able to have it anytime, anywhere,
and net-connected of course.

I want to be a contributor, a producer, a writer, a creator, with my computer,
not just a consumer whose expresion of choice amounts to little more
than clicking the channel changer on the advertainment opiate-for-the-masses drip.

So I need a full keyboard or equivalent. NOT a touchscreen virtual keyboard.

I just need continued miniaturization, so that my current 4.5 pounder iBook G4 12"
becomes a 1 pound "wafer thing" wonder that I can stuff in a big pocket of my
jacket and go. But somehow, I need at LEAST 1024x768 resolution.

Hey but that's just me. Maybe the real deal will be a separate 1024x768 or better
tablet with a separate bluetooth fold-up keyboard optional.

Netbook was never really a separate category (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615614)

They were just a smaller laptop. Certainly, blurring the lines is going to happen.

Netbook weirdness (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615636)

What is it with all the netbook weirdness.

I have an Eee 900 20G. Basically it is a small, cheap, very light, well built machine with a moderate battery life. It can combine those properties because it was very low spec compared to its contemporaries. Other than that, it is just a laptop. There are no restriction or lack of featuers. It is just a laptop.

I happen to like it because I don't require a fast machine or a large screen. Therefore it is better than almost all other laptops (for me) because it nails the specs I do care about.

When I am at home, I plug it in to an external monitor and DVD drive and it works well as my home (entertainment) computer.

I can't believe I am the only person in the world who does not need a fast machine. I have particular trouble believing it because they sold so very well.

I can see that the netbook markey it "dieing" mainly because the speed, size, weight and cost has gone up, making them merge with the normal laptop segment. There's therefore nothing to distinguish them from normal laptops. But when they were small, cheap and light they sold well.

The great thing about generic PCs is that they span niches from Vortex86, PC/104, through to laptops (with any practical range of speed, weight, battery life, cost size), luggables, desktops (from tiny Via /atom to quad socket behemoths) through to servers in as many shapes and sizes.

Why does this particular combination of weight, speed, size and cost seem to cause so much consternation?

Tablets could be netbook killers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615672)

Reading tablet with e-ink screen, internet access, typing facilities and detachable keyboard.

Netbooks may be deserting the netbook niche due to a lack of power and screen size, but the original needs inherent in netbooks (small, portable, ability to type and limited surfing) haven't gone away. Sure, consumers find that it is really convenient to do a lot more stuff on a "portable", and when you pay almost as much as for a fully powered laptop, there's no reason to have low expectations, right?

Tablets are coming in full force anyway, and adding this functionality would be cheap and simple.

Wow, really getting sick... (1)

Pederson (1431413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615700)

Wow, really getting sick of this 'netbooks are underpowered' crap that the market/media seems to be pushing on us. We get it, you like the illusion that they can't do anything but email/browse so we'll buy your more expensive machines. I have a Lenovo s10-2 with an extra 1GB ram (2GB total), which when all was said and done cost be about $400 USD. There's nothing I cannot do unless directly hindered by my limited resolution (which I easily solve by plugging into my monitor (which I also did/do with my other notebooks ranging from 13"-17")). I have Photoshop (which sure, takes an extra 30sec-1min to start up than my dual core, who cares?), I have the same amount 'constant running' apps I've always had, there's only two web based apps that didn't exactly run as smooth as did before (Google Wave, Aviary, both early in development) and hell I can even smoothly run World Of Warcraft (with settings obviously brought down, but that's a given), in major cities running with 20++ FPS easily. This 'underpowered' bullshit is just that, an attempt at getting the uneducated consumer to move up a step in price. Anyone actually knowledgable/experienced in the market doesn't need a constant reminder that they're 'underpowered' as they know the tag is simply for the stupid.

A classic trope ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615706)

"Groups are out. Four-piece groups with guitars particularly are finished."
— Decca Recording Company executive Dick Rowe turning down The Beatles, 1962
"You set fire to it! Then what do you do, Walt? You inhale the smoke! You know, Walt, it seems you can stand in front of your own fireplace and have the same thing going for you!"
— Bob Newhart, to Sir Walter Raleigh, on the discovery of tobacco
* As late as 2005 Sir Alan ("Sralan") Sugar declared that the iPod would never take off.
* Daryl Zanuck predicted the failure of television because "people will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night".
* In 1977 the boss of Digital Equipment said that nobody would need a computer in their home - a view I remember sharing, though of course until the arrival of the internet, computers were almost largely used for word processing, calculating and very simple games.
* Back in 1883 Lord Kelvin said that X-rays would turn out to be a hoax, and in 1878 the chief engineer at the Post Office said we had no need for the telephone in Britain, as we still had plenty of messenger boys.
(all of the above are copied from a couple of articles)

Ever grow tired of people in print trying to appear wiser and know-it-all? There are dozens of ways a product can evolve and zap the market and then disappear off the map altogether. Why try to get all Nostradamus at the drop of a hat?

Nothing to see here (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615720)

It's widely recognised that the netbook craze took laptop manufacturers by surprise. Sales of more expensive laptops were lost as people flocked to buy the cheap, highly portable and "good-enough" devices that they actually wanted. Now the industry is trying to kill off the monster they have created, with opinion pieces like this one. No-one's paying the slightest attention, of course - people know what they want, and they'll continue to buy it, no matter what the media tells them they ought to be doing.

Here we go again...Arm had their chance (2, Interesting)

grapeape (137008) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615730)

Didn't we go through this already? Arm made their push with PDA's then pushed their demise with the declaration that everyone wanted all their gadgets integrated. Now they claim everyone wants their gadgets separate and specific? Guess their original world domination plans didn't work out quite the way they wanted?

While I agree that the netbook as it is now will change and evolve, there is now a proven niche for low-mid cost devices that can do basic computer tasks, features and abilities will increase but I don't see this market segment going away. There are plenty of us that like the idea of a kindle for instance but find it too limited in what it can do, tablets seem like the natural progression. I know they have been tried before, but integration in the past wasn't nearly at the level it is now and cost of production and ownership kept the really good ones out of the hands of mainstream consumers. Perhaps improvements in communication, power consumption, quality, speed and costs have advanced us to the point that Star-Trek like data tablet is finally ready for prime time?

The netbooks have been "killing themselves" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615740)

Over the past two years, netbooks have been getting larger in size and more expensive, whilst retaining the all-around same specifications. Once the price goes above $300 and the screen goes above 9 inches, I might as well get a cheap laptop.

I picked up my EEEPC 900 HA when it was $258 and I feel I got an excellent deal. Apparently Amazon agrees with me, because now that model is *MORE* expensive than it was. This device is small, has a big hard drive, and does what I need it to on the go. if I wanted a bigger machine, I would toat this laptop around with it's 4 gigs of RAM and an NVIDIA GPU.

Although I use Linux, I am not one of those fanboys who goes around saying that netbooks should consist of only a web browser. I expect a fully functional tiny PC at a low price with reasonable specifications.

As for smart phones, I'm not interested. I don't want to be chained to a contract and I expect to have control over my own hardware.

A subnotebook by any other name... (2, Interesting)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615836)

My new netbook is the same size and relative speed as my 5 year old Toughbook (CF-M34), just less drop-able.
And I think my 1995 IBM 701 thinkpad was even smaller.

The format stays the same, we're not going to carry-around another device just for Facebook. Even non-smart-phones can change your status, and I doubt Facebook will change that.

The netbook just made an old product new again.

It's a new sub-notebook at the same price as a 5-10 year old "Used" small laptop(sub-notebook) that you can find on E-Bay. And it runs at about the same speed. The netbook just tapped a market that was previously limited to used computers and the netbook I'm using right now is $100 dollars cheaper than when I first bought it 6 months ago.

You can now spend $300 every 18 months and replace your netbook as often as your cellphone.

As to specialized gadgets.

When I leave home, I've got my:
Smartphone, (Always)
Music player, (Only if I know I will use it, and I want to conserve cellphone battery life)
Netbook, (Only if I will do some serious work(or net-surfing))
8-track player (Only if I know I will meet someone from the BBC so that they can write an article about how the world is going to re-embrace analog music, cause it just sounds so much better than that MP3 mumbojumbo)

oh, and a Coffee-cup (Always)

Only idiots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615840)

Only idiots want "specialized" underpowered, cramped, horribly tiny devices like cellphones to do things a netbook should, and only idiots want huge overpowered laptops to do things a netbook can easily do. Netbooks are the perfect middle ground between the two, and was the best idea to come along in portable computing in a LONG time.

Why is it that the only good things in technology in these modern times are ruined by idiots?

flash bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615882)

As a netbook owner, the best thing about the device is its quick boot up, portability, and power. I can play divx, xvid, maybe even some mkv off my USB using VLC player, but the biggest drawback I keep having is its inability to play Hulu, YouTube, or TuDou smoothly because flash 10 is such bloatware that makes the framerate lag at 12-14 fps. Any other sites with embedded flash video prior to ver. 10 runs just fine, regardless of video quality/ size. Adobe is ruining netbooks for everyone.

Fp tRoll (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30615910)

states that there 6is mired in an

What's the difference... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30615918)

Is the 12.1" powerbook I have on my desk retroactively a netbook? Other than the fact it does have an optical drive? Now I see some "netbooks" with 11.6" screens and are only $50 less than the 15" "laptops" setting right next to them with a full sized keyboard, a better processor, and more RAM.

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