Pretty soon, perhaps, we won't have to ask whether netbooks are finally dead. According to Taiwanese trade paper DigiTimes, the top two netbook manufacturers, Asus and Acer, have at long last abandoned the inexpensive, low-powered netbook.
Netbook sales have been steadily declining for the past couple of years. Like a cold that just won’t go away, however, netbooks have continued to sell, so PC makers continued to make them. Just this January, Asus introduced new Eee PC models.
That has come to a full stop now, according to the DigiTimes report. Asus CEO Jerry Shen has reportedly confirmed the end of production for Eee PC netbooks—the trailblazing netbook brand that started the whole netbook craze.
Acer also appears to have changed its mind since last November, when the company said it would continue to produce netbooks; Acer has no new netbook projects planned.
I don’t think anyone’s surprised, even though netbooks have had a great, long run. Although you could pick up one of these lightweight and portable laptops for under $300, why bother when for that price you could get an Android tablet, pair it with a keyboard, and do everything you could on a netbook? For a few more Benjamins, you could get a more powerful yet still portable Ultrabook.
Also, Windows 8 almost ensures the death of the netbooks, with its 1024-by-768-pixel screen resolution requirement. (Most netbooks have a 1024 by 600 pixels resolution on their 10-inch screens.)
Dell, Lenovo, and other netbook manufacturers have already ditched the netbook. If Asus and Acer are out of the netbook-making business as well, that’s a good bet that we’re finally seeing the end of the netbook era.