Obituary for netbooks off the mark

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Nov 232008

InRe: Jason Chen on why the netbook market is dead in three years | T3 magazine

Jason’s reasons for netbook’s demise, underpowered for Windows and underoutfitted for Windows, while true to a degree, are not going to be the reasons for any so called demise of the netbook market.  What he is really talking about is a failure of Windows, both XP and Vista.  Netbooks are not small laptops just as miniature golf is not golf in miniature.  They are a different class of device, bigger than a phone but smaller than a laptop.  Trying to run windows on a netbook is as frustrating as a phone with windows mobile.  Microsoft is becoming less relevant in the fastest growing market segment.

While I agree that what we now call netbooks (screen < 10 inches) may dissappear in three years it won’t be because of consumer apathy but because the device platform will become wildly popular and manufacturers will struggle to differentiate themselves.  Jason goes on to compare netbooks with tablet PCs but that analogy is false.  There have only been a handful of tablet PC platforms, where as the market is exploding with netbook devices.

His closing statement about price and weight is exactly what will sustain the market.  At a price of 1/3 to 1/4 of a full featured light weight laptop, more people can afford to have both a laptop and a netbook.  If they were to buy the MacBook Air or X360 they would have to live with the tradeoffs they bring.  A netbook/laptop combo comes in 1/4 less the cost.