Intel reconsiders the appeal of netbooks

By on November 29, 2008, 8:42 AM
Netbooks are all the rage these days and Intel has no doubt become the de facto standard engine powering most of them. Considering the success of its Atom processor, one would think that the company is enthusiastic about this rapidly growing market, but apparently Intel is re-evaluating the whole netbook thing and has recently stated that these machines are not good for extended usage.

The company says that they first thought netbooks would be for emerging markets, but as it turns out, they are particularly popular in Europe and the United States among people who just want to grab and go with a notebook. This of course has the companies behind these low-cost devices worried as they are beginning to into traditional notebook sales and ultimately their bottom lines.

The company’s comments also partially echoes AMD’s take on the subject that the low cost and small form factor comes at the expense of the users’ computing experience – some of you might agree with that perception. Despite this, AMD does plan low-power chips for ultra portables and larger netbooks.

In the end, the netbook form factor will likely morph into something more akin to entry level notebooks, compromising a bit on the portability side but vastly improving their usefulness when working on them for longer periods. Case in point: the new Dell Inspiron Mini 12.

User Comments: 9

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spydercanopus said:
The era of disposable computers is here. Sad =(
TBolt said:
Disposable computers? Perhaps. Sad? Not really considering the potentiality of the tech. Although I myself would not purchase one (I'm predominantly a power user...I need / want the higher end performance PC), I am intrigued by the possibilities this tech has to offer. Down the road, I'm sure there will be much greater improvements to this type of platform making them more appealing (like higher CPU power, higher RAM and storage size, greater battery life, etc.) which will be great. The side effect very well may be smaller, high-end components that use less power for desktop units as well. But for now...if I want a small, portable PC, I'll buy a regular laptop and get what I really want and need.
sngx1275 said:
I have considered a 'netbook' several times, but I don't really know what I'd do with it. Its pretty worthless as a modern PC, so all it has going for it is size. Is size that much of an issue? For me it isn't. My only laptop is a 15" Powerbook G4, if I bought a netbook I'd be getting performance on par with my current laptop so the only thing I gain is a smaller size. And is that really a gain? If you can't view most web pages without scrolling (as seen with a lot of netbooks) then it is no good.So that begs the question.. if most people are just buying these for portability, then why aren't they buying used laptops from several years ago? You can probably buy a used TiBook ( ) for cheaper.
rmguru said:
During a vacation this summer I realized I could have had a better time had I had a truly portable laptop with good wifi so I could chk emails and surf. I already owned 2 desktops, one of them a power machine, plus a laptop. My laptop is the usual 14" screen type, but the battery charge is so short I have an extra battery pack. But, this makes it so heavy I get tired of carrying it! Real portable right? The 9" netbooks just seemed so toy like and from everything I have read the keyboards are all but unusable because they are so cramped. Then I read about the Eee10 and how the keyboard works really quite good. I bit the bullet and bought one. Now when I am home I use the Eee 10 more than any other machine. I can sit on the sofa and surf and type with ease. It is almost silent and never gets really hot. The charge lasts 2 nights before I have to plug it in again. I take it to every meeting and leave the "portable" home because it is the real portable @ 3 pounds. I love it and that is a lot more than I can say for the others. Now, if I want to do something that takes real power, like editing my movies, I use the power machine, but most of my time is spent doing something lighter. I will be glad to have one of the new screens that will last 20 to 40 hours, but for now I like the 5-6 hours that mine lasts. How about some more posts from those that have these machines instead of just those from guys who don't!
Onionhead said:
Initially, I wondered what the point of these netbooks was, as most of the reviews strongly suggested they were slow and too small to be really usable for more than brief periods. However, I paid a couple of longish visits to my local Curry's, and spent a while trying out a range of machines before buying an Acer Aspire One with 120GB hard drive.After sending the first one back for a noisy fan, the second one has actually turned out to be much more practical than I thought it would be. I wiped the original Linpus Linux and used nLite on my XP disc, getting XP SP2 down to about 800MB and turning off any unecessary services.With Avast as antivirus/spyware protection, I'm surprised that this machine runs at a perfectly usable speed, even if it's never going to break any records. It takes a while to get accustomed to the size of the keyboard, but it's fine once that's done. Battery life isn't awesome with XP - less than the 2.5hrs quoted for Linux - but the extended battery is only £50 or £60 from Amazon.With VLC media player, this thing has no problems playing DVDs from an external drive, or off the HDD.I have an old IBM X30 (PIII, 1.2GHz) with a 12.1inch screen, and although it's a small, fairly tough laptop, it's still a laptop. There really is a definitive difference between these netbooks and small laptops in terms of weight and size, and the Aspire One is definitely going to be more resistant to the knocks of everyday portable life than the X30 (or an old Tosh Portege 7220CTe I had [13inch screen], despite it having full-magnesium chassis).
mctommy said:
I own a eee 1000h and love it, have that with 2 gig of ram and a SDHC card to transfer the file. It's nice and light to go through airport and does a lot of things that my blackberry doesn't do. I don't use it that often at home except while in bed before going to bed. My desktop is there where i need to do a lot of stuff including using multiple screens for multi-tasking (24" LCD helps there vs. the tiny 10"). Other than that, I think for most power users, the desktop is the only way to go rather going with a laptop... to me 14-15" screens are too small. I don't need power usage when I'm traveling so the power and functionality I get from a netbook is perfect the way it is right now. It sure beats carrying 5lb laptops vs. a 3lb netbook that has a battery life of 5+ hour (6-cell battery 1000h).
Julio said:
I agree that the netbook as its use but never as a desktop replacement (while a laptop can sometimes fit the task). Before the netbooks were around I bought a much more expensive Vaio 11" laptop and I hardly use it nowadays because of the smallish footprint.
climbamtn said:
The issue here is not that the netbooks are replacing laptops but previously the only choice was a laptop and some people only needed the netbook. There was no other choice. There are compromises sometimes you need the larger screen or the horsepower sometimes the portability no single device does it all perfectly. This is just one more tool to get the job done, it must suck for manufactures to be selling all the inexpensive netbooks to the same customers that paid premium for portability just over a year ago but most times I just need a little more then a blackberry not to mention the indestructibility these seem to have. I am happy to have the choice and there will still be a market for a more powerful portable laptop but it just wont be as large.
rcharnoc said:
I own an Eee PC 701 with 9" screen and 4 GB SSD, and 1GB of RAM. I really enjoy the portability and being able to hook up a USB GPS unit and travel with the unit on the dash of my car. This is the perfect solution for internet and email access on the go. Even with the 1 gHZ Celeron processor it easily performs the tasks I require of it. I even play older games on it with no problem such as CIV II. The only challenge with only 4 GB of drive space I had to add an additonal 8 GB SSD drive in the card slot and do some hacks to get upgraded to Windows XP Home. I prefer windows over linux because of my GPS software, and other programs I use. I do plan on upgrading to a new Eee PC with the 10" screen and a 16 GB SSD. That will enable Windows XP with no hacks needed, and also give me a slightly larger keyboard.
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