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 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?