Acer still believes in netbooks for some reason

Summary:Other manufacturers have been bailing out of the once-hot market, but Acer vows to keep making the little laptops.

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You may have noticed that tablets have pretty much killed the market for netbooks. Once about 20 percent of the laptop market, the small and cheap notebooks now constitute less than 10 percent of portable sales.

That's led companies like Dell and Lenovo to abandon the category, and even Asus, which once dominated the segment, has ditched notebooks for tablets of varying flavors. And Google's attempt to promote its Chromebook platform has largely been a dud. But none of this seems to have deterred Acer, which refuses to stop producing netbooks.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal,  Acer chairman and CEO J.T. Wang claims that netbooks aren't dead, and vows to continue producing them even though Asustek CEO Jerry Shen believes the netbook category will expire in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Why is Acer staking a stand on netbooks? Wang says that the devices are still selling well in developing nations, though he points out that sales in developed nations match those in developing nations. While there is a certain logic that a cheaper system might still have legs in developing economies, smaller tablets now cost less than netbooks, provide many of the same features, and are frankly far sexier products. (Of course, Acer hasn't made a huge splash in the tablet world, so it's not exactly gaining huge dividends from that hot category.) And as Intel continues to work with its hardware partners to lower the prices of Ultrabooks, those systems will chip away at whatever market share netbooks still have.

Do you agree that Acer shouldn't give up on netbooks? Or have tablets killed the category? Let us know in the Talkback section below. 

Topics: Laptops, Mobility

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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