Thursday, July 08, 2010

More evidence that tablets are cooling netbook demand?

According to DigiTimes, both Acer and Asustek (Asus) have cleared out their existing inventory of netbooks, and are monitoring market demand before launching any new models. Intel's pricing for its new dual-core Atom N550 processor, which is $11 to $22 higher than current models, is said to be one of the factors causing the netbook vendors to be cautious.

Another big reason for caution on the part of Acer and Asustek has to be the market success of Apple's iPad and the potential impact of forthcoming tablets. I've had an Acer Aspire One for more than a year, and I've switched to an iPad. There's very little that I can do with the Acer that I can't do with the iPad, plus the iPad doesn't have to be unpacked to go through airport security, it's lighter and it feels faster. (I'm running Windows 7 on the Acer, so that may explain some of its sluggish performance.)

A year ago, the company that I was working at was pushing netbooks as more flexible substitutes for dedicated hardware eBook readers. They had limited success, even though the netbooks were often less expensive than the dedicated readers. Now that the Kindle 2 and nook are priced below $200 and are likely to fall further, netbooks have lost their price advantage. At the other end of the scale, the iPad's user experience is far better than that of netbooks. With Android and WebOS tablets likely to reach the market at lower prices than the iPad before the end of the year, the argument for netbooks is even more tenuous. That's why the leading manufacturers are holding back.
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