The iPad's first victim? Dell, HP cutting back on 10-inch netbooks as sales slow

The iPad's first victim? Dell, HP cutting back on 10-inch netbooks as sales slow

Summary: You're going to be hearing a lot about whether the iPad can be an adequate replacement for the netbook, which Steve Jobs derided when he first announced the Apple tablet back in January. In particular, netbooks with 10-inch screens appear vulnerable as their screen size is similar to the iPad's 9.

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You're going to be hearing a lot about whether the iPad can be an adequate replacement for the netbook, which Steve Jobs derided when he first announced the Apple tablet back in January. In particular, netbooks with 10-inch screens appear vulnerable as their screen size is similar to the iPad's 9.7-inch display.

Perhaps due to a bit of iPad anticipation, the sales growth of netbooks has slowed this year compared to the mania for the devices last year. The effects seem to be hitting the 10-inch varieties first, as DigiTimes is reporting that Dell and HP are scaling back their production of these netbooks, and floating the rumor that HP may abandon the 10-inch netbook market altogether.

That doesn't mean netbooks with larger displays are doing much better. DigiTimes has also reported that companies that produce netbook screens are seeing slowing sales of their panels, which indicates reduced demand for the portables. As BusinessWeek points out, there's been some buyers' remorse with the whole category, as the cramped keyboards and limited specs have disappointed people expecting an experience closer to one from a full-sized notebook. (Then again, what should they be expecting for $299?)

Of course, you can see where things are headed. With strong iPad pre-sales, the pace that PC makers will pump out their own tablets will quicken considerably. Add to that the growing power of ultra-light notebooks, and the netbook may become an evolutionary dead-end for portable computers sooner than later. Do you agree?

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Hardware, iPad, Mobility

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52 comments
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  • Ben was right!

    ?The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness
    of low price is forgotten? ? Benjamin Franklin
    Userama
  • Sorry Sean, I disagree.

    Even before the anouncement of the iPad, Articles predicting the begining of the end of netbooks where all over the internet (even here), with analyst predicting that netbooks had peeked in 2009, and sales were going to slow considerablly.

    To now link that all to the release of the iPad is doing a disservice by dismissing everyone who had forsight to see the trend last year.
    John Zern
    • Now there is a surprise:)

      Still I have to admit I think I saw at least one report that stated netbooks
      had peeked. Also I saw another article on the return rate of netbooks
      and they were much higher than industry average as I recall. So Steve
      Jobs may have had a point about said devices when he famously
      slammed them and was attacked for doing so I might add. Who knows
      the iPad might serve as yet another nail in a growing list of "reasons" for
      the eventual decline of the netbook star?

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Both of you: peaked, not peeked (nt)

        nt
        Economister
        • Don't be so certain. I often go where I don't belong

          Pagan jim
          James Quinn
  • Netbooks suck

    The problem of Netbooks is that they are just smaller
    cheap laptops.

    For normal people, they are just too limited in what they
    do.

    The iPad, on the other hand, is designed specifically for
    normal people. It does some things much better than a
    Netbook - or even a desktop - and definitely better than a
    cell phone.

    Thus, I expect the IPad to take off like a rocket, while the
    Netbook languishes as people realize its limitations.
    jameskatt
    • Under powered gadget w/ a power hungry OS

      The problem with most netbooks is that they have no power, then they put a OS that requires better specs on it.

      The Atom CPU is not powerful enough to run Win7 efficiently, specially with 128K L1 cache (if any). Then they put the bare minimum of required memory and you have a sucky experience.

      Netbooks with Linux do a little better. But then you have the issue with wireless connections .... it still sucks.

      In the end, the problem with netbooks is that they are too cheap to be decently useful.
      wackoae
      • My Acer netbook runs fine on Win7 ....

        although I did upgrade it to it's 1.5 gig max RAM.

        In my opinion, anyone who purchased a netbook for their primary system just didn't have a clue to start with. They are fine for what they were intended for, but not for full time use.

        I am eagerly awaiting the reports to come in on just how complete an experience the iPad gives the average user. I still will not buy one until it has USB and/or SD support, a camera, and handwriting recognition. I'm not holding my breath, either. My netbook does all of that (except the handwriting thing) for now.
        babyboomer57
      • My netbook ran just fine

        But my needs went beyond its capabilities and I had to give it up for a full featured laptop.

        That said, I still believe netbooks to kind of a 'toy'. They're great for basic, and I mean basic tasks. But the small screen and slow processor really hamper the device, which is what I think is killing it. People might be realizing that finally, and this fad will pass.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: The iPad's first victim? Dell, HP cutting back on 10-inch netbooks as s

    Netbooks were losers from the very beginning. These
    cheap, less than notebook devices that were built for
    third-world poverty-class countries somehow ended up in
    the U.S. during the economic downturn. In turn, each U.S.
    company tried to sell each model cheaper than the last
    and the race to the bottom was born. Yet for some
    reason, the cheapsters claimed that the netbook was the
    ultimate mobile platform although it was designed to have
    the lowest quality and performance factor of any other
    mobile computing platform.

    All the U.S. computer companies hated having to sell these
    pieces of junk since they couldn't make any profit off
    them. Microsoft hated the netbook because they were only
    capable of running the cheapest version of Windows 7.
    Intel builds the finest high-end multi-core processors in
    the world and is wasting resources building millions of
    crappy, low-end Atom processors for netbooks at little or
    no profit.

    The netbook is a disaster ready to die as far as businesses
    are concerned. The only people that want the netbooks to
    continue are the cheapsters that hate to spend money on
    quality items. A $300 netbook sold in the U.S. is junk,
    plain and simple. It's not meant to perform or last or keep
    computer companies in business for the long-term. The
    quicker netbooks are killed off, the better for the return of
    a healthy computer economy. Michael Dell despised
    netbooks and he'll be happy along with the rest of the
    computer industry to see them disappear.

    Good riddance to the netbook which has been a disgrace
    to the entire computer industry at large.
    ConstableOdo
    • disgrace?

      well, people liked netbooks and loads of people wanted to buy them from 2007-2010. by any means of capitalism, if you think that's a disgrace then tough. people didnt want to spend $400+ on a computer since all they wanted to use it for was internet access and working with docs on their computers. you dont need an intel c2d with 4gb ram and 500gb hhd for that... and what about this being cheap? have you seen the garbage economy we were in (and probably still are)? get out from under your rock...people didnt want full laptops and desktops, so they voted with their dollar. so what if the companies weren't making huge profits on these machines? tough for them...welcome to capitalism my friend. a $299 underpowered atom netbook with xp/7 starter works just as fine on the internet as a pavilion/studio/viao/whatever; it's only dependent on the type of connection they have, not the hardware. sorry to hear you're worried about multi-million companies only making around ~$50 per netbook. boo hoo...
      privatejarhead
    • Perhaps

      the netbook you have been exposed to in U.S are junk but those i have been exposed to can be of high quality. Especially those from Asus.
      Asus made some high quality netbooks, and notebooks btw, and it has taken a lot of efforts from one of my friend to make me agree to sell him my Asus EeePC.
      I have been considering buying either a tablet or an ultraportable, but i think that i will end up buying another Asus netbook.
      timiteh
    • well HP has Slate coming and Dell has Android Tablets

      and they don't want netbooks to be competing with their own stuff, it is
      not iPad only. there are other factors and I see there is a market for
      Slates and iPads that netbooks once commanded surfing majorly. I see
      tremendous. Have you seen ASUS eeePC and Fujitsu Lifebook, then you
      wouldn't comment Netbooks are crap.
      --Ram--
      Ram U
    • Some find Netbooks use full.

      When my wife had a stroke I bought her a
      Toshiba netbook to get on the internet, use
      email and do light paperwork. She only has
      the use of one hand, so a tablet/slate is out
      of the question. That "tiny" keyboard that
      people complain about is perfect for one
      handed typing/pecking. The netbook is light
      and small enough that she can pick it up and
      manipulate it (carry, open, close, etc.) with
      one hand which she cannot do with my full
      sized laptop. Some may say disgrace, I say
      just perfect for her.
      Marlin1894
  • I'm VERY satisfied with my HP Mini ...

    on the other hand, it would take a $49.95 "upgrade" special for me to even consider the iThingy (and I would probably return it after I found out first hand what it CAN"T do).
    ;-)
    kd5auq
    • Me, too...

      I think many of the respondents on these threads must be kids without business acumen or need, or simply Apple fanboys. That's sad, because they are vitriolic in many cases, and absent of intelligence in many others. I truly doubt many of them have used a netbook,

      I have every type of computer imaginable, being involved in the app. dev. market, and I, too, purchased an HP mini. Contrary to the slippery keyboards or small contact points of other netbooks, the mini is excellent, easy to type on, easy to use. I just came back from holiday in Hawaii where I used it daily to run my virtual business.

      My business manager application is fully web-enabled; I do everything from chat, message response, emailing, help desk, contact management, project and opportunity management, drip marketing, scheduling, callback management, querying, reporting, Skype dialing, VoIP dialing to Twitter search, web browsing, action management, calendaring and much more... all from a great SaaS product and all through the HP mini.

      I'm anxious to use the iPad, but I doubt at its price point and with its significant deficiencies, that it will wrest the Mini from my hands.

      So give us all a break, please. There's no debate here: both the netbook and the iPad have excellent uses, and the nonsense about quality is just pure ignorance.
      no_axe_to__grind
  • Cramped Keyboards and Limited Specs?

    I don't get it. The iPad has NO keyboard and less capability than a netbook; buy we're all enthralled by it!

    Make up your mind.
    tricktytom
  • Underpowered Toy...There's no app for that!

    The iPad IS a netbook. It's and underpowered, under-equipped TOY which doesnt' run Flash, and can't make a phonecall.

    Tell me what the iPad does that a netbook doesn't?
    tricktytom
    • Have a great touch based interface.

      There. One of many things.

      It is funny:

      The iPad is an iFail because it is just a big iPod Touch.
      The iPad is an iFlop because it is just another netbook that is more
      crippled.

      What is it? It is funny to see people that think they know technology be
      clueless about a new device.
      Bruizer
      • Have you used it? Koolaid drinker!

        You've never used the interface, AND you're telling us how great it is? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY?
        tricktytom