Netbooks on the Line

Closed Gateway LT2000 Netbook

According to several reports over the past month, netbooks are on their way out. The LA Times and Digital Trends both quote a forecast by iSuppli that netbooks will no longer be shipped by 2015. Another interesting article comes from PC World talks about the end of Intel’s netbook specific Atom processors. In both cases tablets and smartphones are luring away buyers.

True, prices have dropped. One can get a refurbished netbook for ~$200 at TigerDirect or Walmart or a new one for $250. However many e-readers are available at a fraction of that cost. Many smartphones can take care of the browsing and social parts. However, thinking back to my travels, I wonder if perhaps we are missing something. I spent several months in Thailand using my Dell 700m for writing and traveled through Guatemala with a Aspire One. I’m not sure if I’d have been able to write as much as I did on those computers using a tablet nor would I have felt as comfortable lugging it around. However, there have been plenty of add-on keyboards for netbooks for over a year, just take a look at some of these keyboards in a Tech Hive overview from March 2012. For those interested, there’s a neat Popular Science article that takes you the other way: Turn Your Old Notebook Touchscreen Into A Tablet.

As the writer for a site dedicated to mini-laptops, I’m wondering if I should stick it out with news of new products and offerings or expand and add tablets and accessories which turn them into netbooks as well.

On the other hand, perhaps the end is not so near. Chromebooks are growing in popularity and I’m sure wireless printing issues will soon be a thing of the past. Ars Technica points out that in an interview with the WSJ, Asus’s CEO said he too was eager to join Acer, Lenovo, and HP in the chromebook market. Chromebooks start at about $200 and can sell for as much as $1450. In related news, Wired reports that Linux released its first kernel which includes code for running Chromebooks.

Perhaps netbooks aren’t on the line after all. Chromebooks are growing as are new gadgets, accessories, and technology that can transform phones and tablets into minilaptops when needed.

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