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Summary:

Netbooks have caught the computing industry with their pants down.  What was originally envisioned as a cheap laptop for kids and those not wanting to do very much has in fact evolved into companion notebooks that owners are using for all sorts of computing tasks.  This […]

Cimg0928Netbooks have caught the computing industry with their pants down.  What was originally envisioned as a cheap laptop for kids and those not wanting to do very much has in fact evolved into companion notebooks that owners are using for all sorts of computing tasks.  This has the companies behind the technology worried no doubt as they see the sub-$400 notebooks beginning to eat directly into their bottom lines.

One company who has embraced the netbook is Intel, no doubt because their Atom processor has become the de facto standard engine powering virtually all netbooks.  Intel even jumped onto the netbook bandwagon by buying the netbook.com domain and launching a web site devoted to the littlest notebooks.

That makes a statement made by Stu Pann, Intel’s VP of sales and marketing, all the more puzzling as it indicates that the chip maker is taking a step back from the whole netbook thing:

"We originally thought Netbooks would be for emerging markets andyounger kids, and there is some of that. It turns out the bulk of theNetbooks sold today are Western Europe, North America, and for peoplewho just want to grab and go with a notebook," Pann said. "We view theNetbook as mostly incremental to our total available market," he added.

"If you’ve ever used a Netbook andused a 10-inch screen size–it’s fine for an hour. It’s not somethingyou’re going to use day in and day out."

Yes, Intel is stepping back publicly from the whole netbook as capable computer meme.  Intel is stating that these netbook things are not good for extended usage.  There are millions of folks who I’ll bet will argue with that viewpoint based on sales numbers.  Perhaps Intel is beginning to feel a lot of pressure from laptop makers who are feeling the netbook eat into traditional notebook sales?

(via CNET)

  1. My AspireOne is becoming my preferred computer on the go because of its cost, portability, and no $MS windows. I found out that “a little is more.” gB

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  2. I scoffed at the netbooks at first, until I decided to look into getting my wife a new laptop for Christmas. I looked around with her since I didn’t want to buy her something impractical, and we found that the netbooks are the best thing for her. There’s an Acer Aspire at Wal-mart that she likes. She keeps her laptop in the family room and occasionally takes it into the kitchen. The 8.9 inch Acer will be easy for her to store and carry and will satisfy her surfing and checking email. She thinks it’s perfect for her. Sje likes her laptop small anyway.

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  3. John in Norway Friday, November 28, 2008

    So my OQO with a 5 inch screen is only good for half an hour? Or have I fumbled with the maths? Oh wait, it doesn’t have an intel processor so that’s bound to alter the equation. Damn, I never was very good at algebra.

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  4. Where in the quote does it imply they are stepping back?

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  5. A Sony UX has been my only computer for the last two and a half years. As soon as these are purchased by those who are computer-less, they will be their main machines for at least 2 years. Perhaps in a few years it will be back to full laptop + smartphone for mobile work.

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  6. SharingIsCaring Friday, November 28, 2008

    maybe he should ask a womans viewpoint? because my wife said 10″ was plenty.

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  7. There is definitely a large demographic for which the netbook IS perfect (students, casual users, …). There is also a demographic for which the netbook IS NOT perfect (gamers, office workers, graphic designers, …). The issue is really what the percentages are.

    In the case where the netbook is not good enough for all that needs to be done, you may find that a netbook will be purchased to “supplement” their main computer (for travel reasons, etc.). That means 2 computers/person.

    I think Intel will still do well through this, because of the shear volume of sales…particularly since netbooks are now in a price range for people that could not afford anything before. Intel’s biggest threat may come from ARM CPUs, if/when ARM manages to scale up to the Atom’s capabilities.

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  8. If netbooks were only good for an hour, nobody would be clamoring for extended batteries in these devices.

    I use my HP 2133 Mini note for mobile use and sometimes spend an entire day out of the office with it. It’s small size lets me carry it without a case, I can use it without having to sit at a table, and it does a lot more for me than just web surfing and email (stuff that I’ve done on my pocket PC for years anyway).

    A great netbook will in fact replace a notebook, much the same way a great notebook can replace your desktop. Not everybody does everything I do with my 2133, but I think once you see everything that is possible with a tricked-out netbook, the opinions will quickly change.

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  9. Netbook or not, the rule of game has changed. It’s not about specs or design. It’s all about money. Mass market already have seen what $400 laptops can do, and how much they actually need to pay to meet their needs. Good luck on selling $1000+ laptops to them.

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  10. If I wanted a small device to catch up on my email and browse the web for a short duration, I’d take out my smartphone from my pocket. My netbook is far more useful than “just” a web browsing machine, and others seem to think the same way, given that most netbooks seem to be coming installed with Windows XP now.

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