We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Analysis: Has the iPad killed the netbook?

Can netbooks survive and thrive in the coming years?

For months we've been hearing that tablet PCs - led by Apple's iPad - are hurting netbook sales in a big way. But are they really? For now, touchscreen tablets appear to be luring consumers away from netbooks but analysts believe in the long term, netbooks will hold their own in an increasingly fragmented mobile device market, particularly as computer makers address user complaints by enhancing netbooks with faster processors and new capabilities.

Acer's take

Few computer makers are more closely associated with the netbook than Acer, which helped define the genre with its Aspire One netbooks in 2008. Not surprisingly, the company believes that the tiny portables will thrive even as tablets take hold.

"While the netbook market has matured and is no longer experiencing the explosive growth we saw initially, it is still a key product category that will generate significant sales for consumers looking for both productivity and entertainment in a mobile device," an Acer spokesperson said.

Acer, which in November announced plans to enter the tablet market, sees a clear distinction between slates and netbooks. "Tablets...represent a different product segment that caters primarily to gaming and content consumption in the £400 to £600 range," the Acer representative said.

But netbooks typically sell for less. Most cost between £250 and £350, says Intel's Ng, though new features and innovations may cause prices to inch closer to £400.

In the coming years, tablets and netbooks will take divergent paths - the former focusing on entertainment, communications, and convenience, and the latter adopting a more work-friendly role. Each will carve out a niche in the personal computing landscape. One will not kill off the other, however. After netbooks succeed in boosting their processing power and adding new capabilities, they'll appeal to users who want a lighter and smaller version of a full-size laptop.

See also: Buyers guide: Why you should buy a tablet PC

See also: can Google Chrome OS save the netbook?

  1. Can netbooks survive?
  2. Twice the price
  3. Acer's take

IDG UK Sites

Apple promises developers better stability, performance for Swift

IDG UK Sites

5 things we hate about MWC: What it's like to be a journalist at a technology trade show

IDG UK Sites

Interview: Lauren Currie aims to help design students bridge skills gap

IDG UK Sites

12in Retina MacBook Air release date rumours: new MacBook Air to have fingerprint ID, could launch...