By John Dodge
Netbooks were all the rage in 2009 and a dog in 2010.
The bloom came off the netbook rose early last year, possibly in anticipation of the iPad and then directly from the wildly popular tablet. Here’s an excerpt from a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article in early April:
Netbook shipments to retailers from January through March are expected to grow 33.6% compared with a year ago, to 4.8 million units, IDC says. That’s significantly slower growth than in the first quarter of 2009, when netbook sales leapt 872%, to 3.6 million units. “Everyone tried to make these mini-notebooks out to be a different category, or different type of device,” says IDC analyst Richard Shim. “In fact, people think of them as just another type of PC.”
Falling sales aren’t the only problem dogging netbooks. There’s evidence that demand for netbook components is declining. The Web site DigiTimes reported on Mar. 30 that makers of the liquid-crystal-display panels used in netbooks are cutting production because of declining orders. PC makers including Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL), andAcer declined to comment on whether inventories of unsold netbooks are on the rise.
Netbooks have simply run their course. They are under-powered — Tweetdeck absolutely swamps mine especially when I follow something such as the tragic shootings yesterday in Arizona (“Giffords”) or live during a game (“Celtics or Patriots”).
Given a choice, wouldn’t you buy a full netbook? A notebook with a full keyboard, display and more powerful CPU can be had for the same price as a netbook and sometimes for less. I bought a HP Pavilion notebook for $290 in late 2009 and it is superior to the two netbooks I own (the Pavilion retailed for more than $600, but Best Buy discounted because it was an open box and gave me even more off the price because of a problem with another notebook).