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Does 2012 Mark the End of the Netbook?

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the so-long-farewell-auf-weidersehen-goodbye dept.

Businesses 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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Nothing of value was lost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435333)

Good riddance. Netbooks were shit.

Nah (4, Insightful)

bobstreo (1320787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435337)

Samsung ChromeBooks, Apple 11 inch devices. Tablets with keyboards not running windows 8 or 7 for everything else...

Re:Nah (-1, Troll)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435445)

Chromebooks? Are you serious? They sold about as (or as bad!) as the Kin.

http://www.chromebookblog.com/2011/11/early-chromebook-sales-soft-reports-digitimes/ [chromebookblog.com]

Acer had reportedly only sold 5,000 units and Samsung was said to have had even lower sales than Acer, according to sources from the PC industry.”

That's why Google doesn't release the numbers sold even now, just like for Google TV which had similarly pathetic sales.

Re:Nah (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435559)

How did this get modded up? The citation is from 2011, and what does the kin have to do with anything? I will stipulate google tv was pathetic, also completely out of scope for a discussion about netbooks.

Re:Nah (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435509)

Yeah, Apple's 11-inch devices are roughly a form factor that would be considered netbook-sized a few years ago. Slightly on the large end for screen size, since I think of 8-11" as typical netbook size, with the majority being 9-10". But spot-on for weight: the 11-inch Macbook Air weighs less than most 9-10-inch first-gen netbooks did. So the market got somewhat cannibalized from the top end by those kinds of devices. And from the bottom-end, the casual user who wants to browse the web occasionally in a coffee shop, everyone now has smartphones, and many people have iPads and similar.

Re:Nah (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435617)

Not really, netbooks used to be in the 7-9 inch range.

Re:Nah (2)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435521)

My thoughts exactly.
Google is pushing Chromebooks heavily right now.

I suspect the people predicting the demise of netbooks are working from a very narrow definition of these devices, and excluding from that definition tablets, (with or without keyboards), or those netbooks that are running web browsers as their only operating system.

Re:Nah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435569)

... except nothing you mentioned would be categorized as a "netbook" by any sane person. we as humans who speak language use specific terms like "netbook" to mean specific things. a netbook is a small, underpowered, cheap laptop. they had a wave of relative popularity, and now they're basically gone.

the other devices you mentioned are just that: OTHER devices. yes, they may resemble netbooks or fill the niches netbooks once filled, but that's the *entire point of this story*. those devices are what REPLACED netbooks because they're *better*.

2010 was the end (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435363)

2010 was the end.

Re:2010 was the end (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435411)

I agree. The netbook was nothing but a quick bait and switch by manufacturers that wanted to make a quick buck off of the recession. The image of a business person using a netbook is just that. Users of netbooks were people with little money looking for a new toy, and nothing more.

Re:2010 was the end (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435441)

I don't think that's a fair assessment. I'm a system administrator and bought one of these to help around the server room. It's much more than a cheap toy.

Re:2010 was the end (4, Insightful)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435469)

Yes, but you have to realize that sysadmins don't represent a large segment of the market.

Re:2010 was the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435507)

What do you call a $5 million cluster at a top tier university, then? To say that what goes on in a data center isn't a large part of the market is absurd.

Re:2010 was the end (2)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435527)

I'm not trying to say that data centers aren't a large industry in and of themselves, but using a consumer level netbook in one doesn't necessarily make usage of netbooks by system admins a large chunk of their sales.

Re:2010 was the end (0, Flamebait)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435667)

So in your mind 7" tablets are a bait and switch as well.

Re:2010 was the end (1, Offtopic)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436027)

Try reading the whole thread dear rabbid downmoderators.

Re:2010 was the end (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435849)

What do you call a $5 million cluster at a top tier university, then?

You're claiming you've got a $5 million cluster of netbooks? If not... how is that a relevant response to his statement?

It sounds like you bought ONE netbook to use for "help around" the server room. Even if a lot of sysadmins did this, it's not going to be more than the smallest of bumps in the sales records.

Re:2010 was the end (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435921)

I also work at a $5 million cluster at a top tier university. I do not use a netbook. Yes, sir, I think you are the only one who does. You don't represent much of a market.

Re:2010 was the end (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435471)

I bought a netbook because I wanted a really small laptop, and netbooks were the only ones I could find which had a nine inch screen. The problem was that everyone focused on making it as cheap as possible, and as a consequence used components with very low performance. I wouldn't mind a modern laptop with good performance at that size.

The make it now (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435809)

Get either an iPad or a Surface, which ever one with a keyboard case. That's as high-end in power and build quality as any netbook ever was, and they have around nine-inch screens.

Re:The make it now (1)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435985)

Yeah, except if you want a keyboard (mandatory for actual work: touch screens still suck and always will) it becomes as expensive as a good, cheap Lenovo laptop with much more power and storage, and a much better keyboard and a real OS as well.

Re:The make it now (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436005)

Get a Chromebook instead. Much cheaper and you get a full keyboard. My mom loves hers compared to the Asus Netbook she was using.

Re:2010 was the end (5, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435603)

I agree. The netbook was nothing but a quick bait and switch by manufacturers that wanted to make a quick buck off of the recession. The image of a business person using a netbook is just that. Users of netbooks were people with little money looking for a new toy, and nothing more.

They aren't a desktop replacement. Normal laptops can be, but netbooks aren't (although I have stretched one to it, with a 24" monitor and keyboard.... worked alright, slightly underpowered but not terribly so for simple work). They never were intended to be. They were intended to be super light-weight, super small, super mobile, and have long battery life with decent specs. For portable web use, nothing was better. Tablets? Sure, if you never intend to type anything and don't mind cradling it uncomfortably in your arms, plus paying quite a lot more for similar or less power.

What killed the netbook was the manufacturers. They wanted higher margins, which meant shoving in more features and power (mostly completely unnecessary). That kills the battery life, raises cost, and completely destroys the whole point of the device. But the original netbooks, for simple web usage, email browsing, and light document editing? Incredibly useful.

Re:2010 was the end (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435851)

Here is the trick what kind of heavy typing are you doing on the web?

Are your forum and slashdot posts that long that you need a keyboard to enter them?

Tablets are great for web surfing as most of web surfing is click a link. If your doing massive data entry on a tablet then your holding the internet wrong.

Re:2010 was the end (5, Informative)

Scoth (879800) | about a year and a half ago | (#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

Re:2010 was the end (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435911)

I bought a used Acer Aspire 1 earlier this year on Ebay, and it's a great little machine. Not terribly fast, but for what I need; taking notes, reading documents, email and the like it does the job nicely. I bought a low-end Bluetooth keyboard for when I need to do a bit more typing or coding. Probably the best $150 I've ever spent.

Re:2010 was the end (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435887)

Not to mention razor thin margins since this was something chipzilla enabled ODMs with almost from day 1. Who'd want to get in that market, and who'd want something that worked so poorly?

no (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435367)

ASK another stupid question.

Re:no (1, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435589)

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.

Re:no (1)

jonnythan (79727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435763)

This isn't true at all. Netbooks were made possible by super low-power, low-cost Intel Atom CPUs. A $300 netbook had about the same power as an old laptop, but coupled it with a small screen and halfway decent battery to create a small, cheap, modern laptop with 8 hour battery life at about 3 pounds.

There was no Atom in 2000. There were CPUs about as powerful as an Atom, but they used 10 times the power.

Re:no (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435905)

Netbooks were made possible by super low-power, low-cost Intel Atom CPUs. A $300 netbook had about the same power as an old laptop, but coupled it with a small screen and halfway decent battery to create a small, cheap, modern laptop with 8 hour battery life at about 3 pounds.

One problem I found is a number of our faculty (we're an engineering department) purchased these, not really looking at the specs other than weight and battery life. Then when they couldn't usefully run a lot of their normal software (Matlab comes to mind), they quickly discarded them. I also saw a lot of students come to school with them... then, a month later, they were back to using their MacBooks.

It's not really the fault of the manufacturers or Intel, per se, but - people didn't really seem to grok the performance tradeoffs that came with these devices. Once that became widely known, the netbook died pretty quickly.

Yep. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435635)

Ask another stupid question....

No Vision (4, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435371)

The problem is that they don't know how to make a netbook. I think there is a valid market for a device the size of the original Acer ZG5 netbook. The problem is that the hardware companies allowed Microsoft to define what a netbook was and not the market. I'd love something the size of my Acer ZG5 that had a quad i7 and 8GB of ram and came with linux installed but that never happened. Underpowered Atom based machines with 2GB ram at nearly the price of a dual core equiped laptop. Who wants that? No one and I can't believe they could not figure that out.

Re:No Vision (4, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435579)

So... you want a macbook air?
Yes, the dimensions are slightly different, but it does come with a UNIX pre-installed.

Apple isn't perfect, but they are the only company that has focused on high end hardware instead of racing to the bottom of every market.

Re:No Vision (0, Troll)

MrHanky (141717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436031)

Oh wow. Another Apple shill modded up for no reason. I thought Slashdot was supposed to have an anti-Apple bias.

Re:No Vision (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42436081)

Did he say "utterly overpriced", "shitty 18-bit display" and "designed for retards"?

No he didn't.

Re:No Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435585)

I'd love something the size of my Acer ZG5 that had a quad i7 and 8GB of ram and came with linux installed but that never happened.

Yeah, and my pony hasn't still arrived, either.

Re:No Vision (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435587)

They DID figure it out. They just don't want to produce it.

Limiting a chipset to 2GB is deliberately crippling the product.

Re:No Vision (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435867)

Not all Atom's have that limitation.

Re:No Vision (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435595)

The problem is that the hardware companies allowed Microsoft to define what a netbook was and not the market.

Not sure Google is allowing Microsoft to define very much regarding their Chromebooks [google.com] .

Better hardware (2)

emil (695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435699)

Had I anything to do with netbook manufacture and marketing, I would have made some hardware improvements.

  • I would have upgraded to retina-class LCD displays. The netbook screen didn't need to be bigger, it needed more pixels.
  • Netbooks also need Android. I would have made every attempt to get an x86-port of Cyanogenmod, and my own app store - a critically-lauded Android that is easy to use is severely lacking. If Microsoft balked, I would have publicly ditched them.
  • I would have made netbooks with cpus more powerful than Atom.
  • I would have made tablet-like netbooks with detachable keyboards.

The failure of the netbook market is due to the inflexibility and lack of vision of the vendors. Should MS Surface join this downward spiral, I will not be surprised.

Re:Better hardware (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435925)

So basically what you want is an Asus Transformer?

Re:No Vision (5, Interesting)

Artraze (600366) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435833)

> I'd love something the size of my Acer ZG5 that had a quad i7 and 8GB of ram

That's not a netbook, it's an ultrabook and it's expensive as hell:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834127833 [newegg.com]
Yeah, it's 11.6" and not 8.9" but seeing as it's the same weight I don't really see that as a major issue. (I, in fact, consider it a big win since I've always thought the 9" keyboards were basically unusable.)

> Underpowered Atom based machines with 2GB ram at nearly the price of a dual core equiped laptop.

That is the essence of a netbook: An ultra low end computer that ran a browser, an email client and maybe a text editor. They were supposed to be cheap, but pretty much started at $200 and rose to $300 when Windows butted in. A decent laptop would run about $400, and they never really made sense for (or were intended for) anything but a sort of secondary travel-ish computer.
(BTW, seeing as the Eee PC started with Linux and kept a Linux version through most of it's revisions, I don't really know why you say Microsoft defined the netbook design...)

> Who wants that? No one and I can't believe they could not figure that out.

Uh, yeah, they figured it out and that's why they aren't making them.

But people _did_ want them. Not because they were good, but because they were cheap and somewhat because they were small. People saw them as proper laptops that were cheaper because they were smaller and not because they were just altogether cheaper. They would buy one thinking they saved $100, only to realize that they wasted $300 because it was to slow to actually do what they wanted.

I don't believe it was intentional... I think they were introduced as trying to be the cheapest possible computer; about half the price of a normal one. Partly for travel, partly for people who didn't do much, partly for just having a computer you can use look up that actor in the TV show you're watching, and it didn't have to be your 'main computer'.

But it turned out to be a stunning bait and switch: If you put Windows on it, you could charge $300. People would buy it thinking they were getting a new laptop. Then they'd be back in the store spending $500 six months later when they found out they needed a real machine. I think that's why they really 'took off' and were pushed so hard. They were just printing money by dramatically shortening an upgrade cycle that had stalled because proper computers had become fast enough.

Re:No Vision (1)

Macrat (638047) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436033)

That's not a netbook, it's an ultrabook and it's expensive as hell:

I wish I had mod points for you today. :-)

Re:No Vision (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435839)

I purchased my ZG5 as a notebook replacement in 2008, and continue to use it as such today. Twice the RAM, twice the hard drive capacity, 20% more clock speed, and a processor with twice the number of threads of the notebook it replaced at half the price. It was a reasonable purchase at the time.

Re:No Vision (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435845)

Acer came out with a nice netbook (AO722). 1366x768 11.6" screen, 320GB HD, chiclet keyboard with std size keys and spacing, AMD C-50 and later C-60 processor, that is faster than an atom, but sips power. $200 at Target almost 2yrs ago, but Target now only carries the intel atom version that is slower, worse battery life, and can't handle as much memory, for more money.

Added an 8GB sodimm for $40 shipped (newegg), and it is a very nice, very small portable box with fantastic battery life for under $250. That includes the windows tax (it came pre-installed with windows that, of course, was immediately erased, but was still part of the price tag).

I would not want a 4 core i7 in this form factor. I want good battery life, a keyboard an adult can type on, reasonable screen resolution with a low enough cost that I wouldn't be devastated if something bad happened to it. The C-50 in my netbook gives me enough speed (not running windows nor a pig of a window manager/desktop like gnome or kde) and sips battery (with little effort to tune for power savings, I am getting 10W light load-12W maximum total system power including screen with backlight measured with a kill-a-watt).

Unfortunately, windows makes this very capable box into a dog, and that is what most folks are going to be judging the hardware by.

Its (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435381)

It's "its", and that's killing my eyes. As for the subject, I believe netbooks had and still have their use but they're simply not for everyone and we've got to learn that and stop bitching about it.

but what about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435421)

the chromebook...

Tablets killed them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435431)

Nobody cares about some underpowered turd running Windows 7 or 8 when the primary niche of netbooks, media consumption and web browsing, is done far better on an iPad or a decent Android tablet.

Re:Tablets killed them. (2)

IANAAC (692242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435723)

Nobody cares about some underpowered turd running Windows 7 or 8 when the primary niche of netbooks, media consumption and web browsing, is done far better on an iPad or a decent Android tablet.

I purchased my first netbook ( a 1st gen EeePC) long before tablets were out. Of course I used it for consumption, but the primary purpose for me was getting work done while traveling. It was (and still is) much easier to cart around something I could put on an airplane tray table and work than it was to lug around my 15 inch laptop and end up slumping in my seat to view the screen.

A lot of other traveling workers did the same. Sure, I would never edit video or music on one, but any kind of document processing or other "office" type work could easily be done. As others here have said, I'd buy another one - the form factor suits me. I still use my Aspire One that I bought last year for most things these days.

Re:Tablets killed them. (1)

SleepyHappyDoc (813919) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435881)

Actually, the original Eee PC (the one with the Celeron processor), was surprisingly good at editing video. I was forced to use one for this when my desktop took a dive, and I was shocked at how fast it was. It wouldn't hold up to anything more modern, but I was able to get done what I needed to without spending hundreds of hours waiting (which was what I expected before I actually tried it).

haha...haha...haha..haha...haha...haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42436043)

what you really mean is retards can be sold tablets...the rest of us real nerds and techies dont want a tablet we gotz no use for shit that one can ONLY buy stuff to use on it ...in fact go buy one im making you some apps on my NON TABLET DESKTOP PC that you also said was dead 5 trillion years ago...

ask nvidia about the 6gb graphics cards and tell me what is dead....you dummies that bought into all the stupid shit and are still yammering about how great crap is.

yup this is hilarious and i love you...we need millions of you and i can sit back after a few apps and be a 1%'er now too...
SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH

netbooks, laptops and tablets oh my. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435433)

Netbooks filled a couple of niches that are no longer needed. Netbooks were the low cost laptop, now 17 inch quad core laptops can be had for $350-$400, your hard pressed to sell a cheaper than $250.. with such a small differance why have a distinction between network and laptop.

Netbook also filled the "small computer" market, quick and easy to carry around, Now smart phones and tablets are everywhere offer as much if not more performance than a netbook.

I love my little netbook, it meets all my needs as a portable presentation system that I got it for, but If I could find a tablet with a VGA output on it, I would replace it in a heart beat.
 

Re:netbooks, laptops and tablets oh my. (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435621)

can you show me some of these? does it got a decent video card i can play EQ and heroes of M&M on ?

Yes Netcraft confirms it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435447)

Posting from my Samsung Chromebook. The Netbook is dead! Long live the Netbook

Will 2013 mark the end of the redundant apostrophe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435483)

Come on guys, it's means it is. End of story. How complicated can this be?

http://www.its-not-its.info/ [its-not-its.info]

Re:Will 2013 mark the end of the redundant apostro (1)

couchslug (175151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435697)

"Will 2013 mark the end of the redundant apostrophe"

Wish for something more likely to happen, such as honest government or world peace.

Re:Will 2013 mark the end of the redundant apostro (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435927)

Sadly, I think you're right. Slashdot, where people know the different Linuxes like the back of their hand and can recite BIOS code in their sleep, are utterly defeated by the apostrophe.

I have been waiting (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435499)

but geez price much?

some of these thngs cost as much as a decent laptop and what do you get?

A sickly cpu that struggles with desktop applications
A small often bad screen
A small keyboard thats very easy to fat finger
and not all that impressive battery life (average yes, impressive no)

For me, the iPad killed the netbook (5, Interesting)

Teckla (630646) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435501)

I bought a netbook because I figured it could do everything a tablet could do, and more.

It turned out to be frustratingly slow, largely due to Windows 7 needing too many resources, Microsoft putting ridiculous limitations on what kind of specs a netbook could have while still qualifying for Windows Starter 7, and the agonizingly slow hard drive (which was accessed far too often due to Windows 7 needing lots of RAM -- while at the same time, Microsoft demanding it not be allowed to have much RAM).

Later, I bought an iPad, with a slower CPU and less RAM ... and I love it. Even though it's just a lowly iPad 2, the user experience is wonderful. I can't help but think Microsoft is partially responsible for making the iPad a success, because Microsoft were the ones responsible for ensuring a poor netbook experience. If my netbook experience hadn't sucked, I'd never have purchased an iPad.

Wish I hadn't wasted my money on a POS netbook.

Re:For me, the iPad killed the netbook (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435653)

The netbook I got in 2008 had an SSD and ran Linux. It wasn't fast, but it really wasn't that slow.

Re:For me, the iPad killed the netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435675)

Well, um, can't you change the OS on the netbook?

Re:For me, the iPad killed the netbook (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435961)

Yup. Mine came with Windows 7 Starter. Had plenty of spare Windows XP Pro licenses kicking around, so through one of those on it. It's got a 1 gb of RAM and a reasonably okay hard drive, so XP runs very well. I suppose if I wanted to, I could throw Ubuntu or Debian on it, and probably get even a few additional horsepower, but I do have a need to run MS-Office, and it's a member of my AD network, so it's just easier to go XP.

Re:For me, the iPad killed the netbook (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435843)

So, you're comparing a $200 netbook with a $500+ tablet? And spending two and a half times as much got you a better experience? Man, this reminds me of the old Kia I used to drive and then replaced with an Accord. Only two and a half times as expensive, I can't imagine why anyone would buy a cheaper car.

Re:For me, the iPad killed the netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42436041)

Now answer me the unexplainable riddle of why you didn't immediately install Linux on it?

It's not like you could play 3D games or use things like Maya/Photoshop/Cubase on it anyway.

It had to do with the Atom (2)

arbulus (1095967) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435519)

The Atom processor is, IMO, the reason for the downfall of the netbook. Not to mention the fact that 7-10" screens are barely usable. A 11.6" screen with a decent processor (at least 2.0 Ghz i3), and a usable amount of ram (at least 4 GB) and it would have made a fantastic netbook. But Atom processors are so painfully underpowered, that using the machines was painful. My netbook died and I had to temporarily use a 10 year old Pentium 4 laptop with 256 MB of RAM, and that machine was WAY more powerful than my 1.6 Ghz, 2 GB RAM netbook.

Then you had that ridiculous Windows 7 Starter edition that was extremely crippled as an operating system. Pick any Linux distro and it was far superior to Windows on netbooks by miles.

Now you have these companies who didn't market and didn't properly build netbooks trying to go the other direction with Ultrabooks, which aren't much more powerful than netbooks, but cost 4 times as much. I simply will not pay $1,000+ for a machine with a 1.5 Ghz processor and 2 GB of RAM just because it's slim and pretty.

Re:It had to do with the Atom (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435615)

PC users simply have more choices than that. We're not stuck with whatever singular choice one singular hardware vendor wants to ram down our throats. We have plenty of options and we can pick the one we think is right for us.

Nothing will seem to be some sort of "dominant winner" that the single vendor crowd might be looking for.

Re:It had to do with the Atom (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#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:It had to do with the Atom (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435765)

in all fairness, we have one of those original EeePC's at work, and that SSD is stupid small. Anything but a bare bones linux eats up so much of the spacious 4GB that the machine becomes useless without a SD card jammed in it

Re:It had to do with the Atom (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435883)

Moore's law means the capacity would rise eventually to 16GB or 32GB which is what a tablet has today.

Different hardware has different appeals (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435549)

I'm sure it still has a niche somewhere. But tablets probably ate most of the Netbook market. Laptops are better at producing content (while mobile) and tablets are better for consuming content while being more portable. A netbook sort of splits the difference, being more akin to a de-featured laptop.

Still it will have its niche. Somebody out there will still want something to serve whatever purpose they have in mind where a laptop is too much and a tablet too little. (Devices in the netbook category are probably best suited where you need a "dumb" terminal in a wireless network environment.) But the majority of the market for that kind of thing will have shrunk greatly, even if the demand hasn't gone away completely.

I can still see why some companies got out though. The market isn't completely gone, it's just not that profitable anymore.

I just got a tablet, I will still use my netbook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435563)

I will use both of them when on holiday.
Why? Because netbook can have anything and everything plugged in to it, my tablet can't. Simple.
It is hardly a hassle carrying them both, hell, my tablets case could fit my netbook in it actually, nice leather case.

That would go with my leather case I keep my wires and peripherals in, which is just a re-used screwdriver case with the elastic straps re-arranged and re-glued in more useful orientations. That includes a PSP and optical drive next to each other, and about 2.5 inches left for headphones, bluetooth headset and couple other things I sit there.
All the other stuff is strapped to the roof side of the case from memory sticks to adapters to USB batteries.
I got my tablet as an extension, a side-grade, to my uses on computers, as well as development on.

Just like in the summary, I blame Microsoft for the death of them. Hell, the only reason they got in to netbooks was because they felt threatened. Same reason they got in to gaming as well, same reason they get in to anything these days, they were threatened by some other company from stealing their invisible market they only have because they threaten PC manufacturers with prices.

Why I never bought a netbook... (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435565)

The list for me was pretty simple:
  • Touchpads suck
  • Windows sucks
  • Few could competently handle a presentation and a spreadsheet or word processing document being open simultaneously
  • The battery life wasn't that great compared to a regular laptop that cost and weighed only slightly more

Re:Why I never bought a netbook... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435987)

In other words:

- You are an idiot who can't use a keyboard.
- You are a complete idiot who uses Windows
- You are a total idiot who is surprised that two huge piles of shit, Windows and MS Office, run sluggish on a netbook.
- You are a 100% full idiot who fell for Intel's bullshit and bought a Atom- instead of a ARM-based netbook, and now noticed that the Atom *platform*, despite Intel's lies, eats ten times the power that an ARM platform eats. (Hint: The Atom platform just hid all the battery-eating stuff inside the north bridge, so the CPU would look good, and still was much worse than ARM. Hell, the NB is the chip with the active cooling! Not the CPU! That should tell you something, if nothing else does.)

i'd rather it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435567)

be the end of a different book.. one with mark's face.

I love netbooks (4, Interesting)

bytesex (112972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435647)

They serve as ideal small computers in all sorts of laboratory set-ups. Use them as network line-debuggers, use them as front-end mockups - I just love them!

netbooks were a wonderful idea (1)

nimbius (983462) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435651)

for linux, hence partly why i think asus is canning them. its not to say other manufacturers wont give the atom chipset a run in the same vein as asus, just that they might not call them a netbook anymore. They ran most distros with ease and had few driver problems (except the one they released with poulsbo 500 chipset, and even then issues were resolved in about 6-8 months.)

the market for linux probably didnt pan out the way asus figured it might, and the chromebook certainly pounded a few coffin nails in the overall concept, but thats okay. I use netbooks because of their great battery life and low cost. If i lose or break my encrypted EEEPC 901 in the airport, i hop onto ebay and pick up another used for around $100 or so. Theres also something quite liberating about having a four an a half hour flight across the country where you get to operate a laptop during the entire thing.

Tablets are toys, laptops are tools. End of story. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435685)

My next purchase will be an 11" Macbook Air.

I gave serious consideration to the iPads, Nexus, et al, but
in the end I need a machine which doesn't limit what I can do.

Macbook Air-lookalikes (0)

CptPicard (680154) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435695)

I'm running Linux on on a Zenbook, and this is what I really prefer to a really crappy "netbook", thank you very much.

Reading this on my EeePC (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435731)

Reading this on my Eee makes me sad. I was hoping for an upgrade soon - like the Eee 1225b perhaps for graphics improvement. But I'd like an 11.5" screen in the same package as the 10.1. Or increasing the size a little may allow a 12" with a tad wider keyboard and that's getting into laptop size range. Those laptops cost quite a bit more but IMHO should not.

XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435737)

The end was when XP was no longer available on netbooks.

Re:XP (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435855)

The end was when XP was no longer available on netbooks.

It's unfortuneate that Linux never really got much of a market on netbooks. Asus used to have it as an option on their models, however they happened to chose a really bad distribution (Xandros).

Re:XP (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436067)

Yup, it was partly a timing thing. MS was transitioning at the time to a next gen of their OS with more security and other overhead, ahead of even where most desktop hardware was at the time, and then this niche of older, even slower componentry became hot, and MS didn't have a good offering for it.

Glad I snatched up an XP Home based 12" netbook, before they were outlawwed at that size I guess and before XP ceased being available. I don't think I've ever seen mine get into the 2nd GB I added to it, but while my desktop runs Vista like a dream, I'd hate to try that on the portable.

Netbooks are more popular than ever now! (2, Interesting)

howlingfrog (211151) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435747)

The conceptual purpose of a netbook is to be an extremely portable computer with good battery life that's primarily used for web browsing and media consumption, with just enough internal storage to serve as a local cache of data from the internet. They exploded in popularity when Steve Jobs figured out that touchscreens were better input devices than keyboards for that use case.

No (0)

kperson (771747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435755)

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42436087)

Did you rush in here to post that with the link? Do you want to get modded informative? Did you just discover this from another slashdot story or perhaps reddit? I would mod you redundant if I could be arsed to make an account.

WaitAminute (5, Informative)

folderol (1965326) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435819)

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.

Chromebooks are the only hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435831)

Computers have certainly reached a level of maturity, in that they have pretty much mastered the arts of word processing, browsing the internet, playing videos, etc. The only place that they fall behind is that A) they cant store as much, and B) they don't have as big screens. The second concern is obviously never going to change, and is inherent in netbook design. The storage problem is effectively eliminated by chromebooks, which can perform the simple tasks of browsing and word processing with an insanely fast SSD, but they can store the extra data on the Google cloud. If Chromebooks are to succeed, though, they are going to have to figure out what kind of market they are going to target, because right now they aren't giving users that much help with their ads. The idea of such a cheap computer will always be around in my opinion though, because somebody will always pay less for a lower quality product. (Check out my website www.shattergames.com in your spare time :).

Because of suckers like me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435837)

Who bought a tablet that's more expensive, hard to type on and doesn't run flash. I am such an idiot. #Typed from my iPad

And tablets survive?? Something is very wrong with (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435929)

...this world.

A computer without a keyboard is the first step to it not being a computer anymore. Because it changes the mindset from "universal computing device" to "media consumption appliance" and intentionally makes it hard to use a computer as a computer. In other words: It is utterly crippling without serving any advantage.
It only serves people who have never understood what a computer is, actually like being passive consumer blobs, and want to ejaculate on a very shiny glass bead idol / e-penis/tits combination that they define themselves through.

They had their niche (1)

twistofsin (718250) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435943)

As a PC Technician I got a lot of use out of my netbook, both on-site and in the shop. I liked it because it was light and easy to carry around. If you own a netbook and are not pleased with how it runs with Win 7 throw Linux Mint on there. Your boot times will increase 5x but the OS itself is a lot more responsive on the skimpy hardware.

No netbook love at all? (1)

taz346 (2715665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435951)

OK, I'll give at least one netbook some love. I got a Toshiba NB205 for free a few years ago from someone who wrecked the Windows on it with a virus and was just going to toss it. Bodhi Linux runs really fast and smooth on it these days with up-to-date Firefox, LibreOffice, GIMP, etc. It includes a 250gb hard drive, webcam, and a tough as nails metal case. The built-in speakers suck but that's what earphones are for. I throw it in the backpack for school and travel. I figure it must be six or seven years old but it still works really well for a lightweight computer on the go. It seems to be indestructible and it still hasn't cost me a cent. Maybe if they'd built more netbooks like that...

3rd world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435957)

I spent 2009 and 2010 traveling thru some poor and dangerous countries. I loved my $200 netbook because I knew it was just a matter of time before it was stolen or broken. Mercifully the end came in Egypt when I (repeat, I) knocked it off the bed in-between snores. Theres always a place for cheap hardware.

in 2010... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435989)

In 2010 I got modded down for daring to say that Netbooks were on their way out. "No!", said the prevailing slashdot wisdom, "It can't be so!!!"

Yet, here we are.

Today, I get modded down for daring to say that Wintel PCs are on their way out. "No!", says the prevailing slashdot wisdom. "It can't be so!!! How can you run Autocad on a tablet? Because we all know that's enough to keep the PC market alive."

It was a fad to begin with... so are tablets... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42435991)

The people whom it might not be a fad for aren't in the 1st world. Tablets and netbooks are not producers. They are at best consumption devices. Only crazy people like RMS would consider working off such a device. Ok, he isn't crazy- but he has a worthwhile reason for using what he does. Most people don't. They are part of the 'me too' crowd. There the same type of person who would buy a Mac or a iThing.

I use GNU/Linux not because it is a fad (it is why a lot of people who play with it- but then have a Mac/Windows/whatever too) but because of what it offers. Freedom, security, and other features, etc.

I don't however own a tablet (other than for work related reasons and it has been turned on only a handful of times) or a netbook. I do own a laptop. Which in and of itself a compromise of usefulness over portability/convenience.

People just... (1)

malv (882285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42435999)

People just don't want a computing device that can do 99% of the daily activities for under $400.

2012 end of intelligent articles on slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42436011)

yes folks retards asking a question again
and he think s he knows the answer and yet i still have 4 desktops and not one laptop
not one ipad
not one ipod
and guess what im playing the latest games , making 3d images and watching HD blurays

so um what crack or drugs do you need ot ask stupid questions?
NO really.

Ultrabooks (2)

abigsmurf (919188) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436017)

Budget ultrabooks, Chromebooks and convertible tablets are taking the netbook's place. They all offer higher profit margins and all cater far better to a specific need. Netbooks haven't died, they've just evolved in three directions.

If you want a ultra slim and light but cheap laptop with basic functionality, Chromebook, if you want a small light full featured laptop, ultrabook, if you want "pick up and use instantly", tablet.

Frankly... (2)

malv (882285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436077)

I love my $400 Lenovo X120e. The AMD E-350 chipset is fantastic. Weighs 3.2 lbs. 6-7 hours battery life. Does pretty much everything I need to do that I would do on a laptop. Before the X120e I owned an EEE which was equally fantastic.

They are abandoning the netbook market because the margins are too slim and the audience too few. Most people are information consumers that are happy with the tablet interface. The others tend to be professionals have the money for expensive powerful laptops with the netbook form factor.

Netbooks are great devices for frugal people that type a lot. If you need to do real work or play, no laptop is going to compete with a desktop.

We can't have anything nice (0, Flamebait)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year and a half ago | (#42436113)

The worst netbook is better than the best tablet. Yet the tablet market survives. Lame. :(

People get boners over amazingly awful garbage, but make that same machine better by putting a keyboard on it so that a simple task doesn't have to be a tedious time-wasting exercise in touchscreen typing, and then also put a non-toy, more capable OS (GNU/Linux instead of Android, or Mac OS X instead of iOS) on it, and suddenly it's not sexy anymore.

WTF is wrong with you perverts? You see a sheep and a hot babe and all you can say is "baa-aa-aahh! c'm'ere sexy baa-aa-aa-aah!" Gene Wilder's character in that Woody Allen movie was meant to be absurd, not your role model. Fuckwits.

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