Netbook to die off 2015, says iSuppli

Netbook to die off 2015, says iSuppli

Summary: The netbook was just a transition device to the post-PC era. In retrospect, Apple's iPad was the meteor that forced netbooks into extinction.

TOPICS: PCs, Hardware, Tablets

The netbook is on life support and the industry is just about to pull the plug, according to a forecast by IHS iSuppli.

For 2013, netbook shipments are expected to fall to 3.97 million units, down 72 percent from 14.13 million in 2012. In 2010, netbook shipments hit a high of 32.14 million.

IHS iSuppli's bet is that the netbook will be extinct by 2015 as units drop to 264,000 in 2014 before going to zero.



It's obvious what happened---Apple's iPad. The netbook wasn't powerful enough to be a real laptop, but did have a run for budget conscious tech buyers looking for good enough computing. These devices also weren't portable enough to compete with tablets. In other words, the netbook was just a transition device to the post-PC era.

IHS iSuppli noted:

From the supply end of production, the major original equipment manufacturers of notebooks will have already terminated netbook production at this point. Whatever production is left is expected to be limited, or manufacturers will simply be shipping last-time builds to satisfy contractual obligations to customers.

So long netbook.

Topics: PCs, Hardware, Tablets

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  • What's a Netbook?

    What's a netbook these days anyway? Right now you can walk down to Best Buy and pick up an 11" Windows 8, touchscreen laptop with a 500 GB hard drive for $450.00. At those prices it's almost silly to buy a netbook.
    • The idea behind it

      was portability and battery life. Price was secondary, however it did appeal to bargain hunters. Now that better products exist that address ALL of those issues, it makes sense that it will diminish.
      Michael Kelly
  • Not exactly

    Microsoft and Intel have been mostly to blame pushing the traditional Netbooks (10.1" or smaller screen, Atom or Celeron CPU) out of public view with their self-serving restrictions on screen resolution, memory and disk drive sizes, and even CPU speed.
    • Correct

      They didn't like the low average selling price, so they made using netbooks an unpleasant experience.
      At least they still profited from them being wintel devices. Now they are suffering the consequences of their controlling ways, with consumers making their own choice to select chromebooks or tablets, or whatever else is out there.
      Does anyone really think that people are going to choose 7 inch surface tablets over the market leaders just so they can sync their imprisoned skydrive data across their other locked down microsoft devices ? no thanks.
      • If that all it was, maybe not, but it's far more then that

        You can simplify and focus on one single thing, but the truth is, the market leader is now getting hit from all side.

        think about it - All the people who bought a Surface, Galaxy, or kindle didn't but an iPad.

        How many millions lost is that to Apple? The biggest problem to the market leader now is that when someone looks over to their left or right at Starbucks, they won't be seeing an ipad 100% time, anymore.

        It seems consumers ARE making their own choices, and it's maybe be a Chrombooks or Windows 8 device, or Android, but it's no longer Apple 99% of the time, anymore.

        So netbooks can go away, and be replaced by a Surface or similar device.
        William Farrel
      • Skydrive not locked down compared to iCloud

        Icloud is EXTREMELY locked down. In skydrive you can access the individual files freely and move them if you want. For iCloud you need to own an Apple device to access your files. The files is also stored in iCloud silos by individual apps, so when/if that app goes away your data is toast...
        • iCloud

          Did you know you can use iCloud on a Windows PC?

          Apparently not.
          • did they change it?

            I was under the impression that you needed an iDevice or a Mac to get the iCloud account to begin with.
            Michael Alan Goff
      • ChromeBooks are a dead tech.

        No one is choosing them. 0.05% web share usage and falling. For an OS that is little more than a web browser.

        NetBooks were unpleasant because their price made them unpleasant.
    • Sad but true

      There was a wave of netbooks with usable screens (10" 1366x768 pixels) but after that, it was only 1024x600 junk available. Indeed Intel and Microsoft conspired to kill the netbook promise.

      Now they are served the fruit of their seeds.
      • OEMs killed the NetBook when they made price the driving feature.

        It is that simple. The race to the bottom was their downfall.
        • No

          What part of "Microsoft and Intel have been mostly to blame pushing the traditional Netbooks (10.1" or smaller screen, Atom or Celeron CPU) out of public view with their self-serving restrictions on screen resolution, memory and disk drive sizes, and even CPU speed." did you not understand?

          Would you have liked a 10.1" Netbook with a 1366x768 display, 4 Gb of memory, a 500 Gb drive, and an updated, faster CPU? That would have been nice, but....sorry, Microsoft and Intel made it near impossible for manufacturers to do this via entirely artificial restrictions.
          • Shhhh! That's not the Party line...

            You're not supposed to mention the anti-netbook suppression tactics -- everyone is expected to believe that netbooks just somehow "failed" in the market.

            But Intel wanted to sell lots of big, powerful, *expensive* processors , not lots of Atom CPUs. So if an OEM didn't follow the Intel "netbook" guidelines, components (and not just Atoms) would be more expensive, and delivery would be less reliable.

            The other problem, of course, is that those netbooks worked better with Linux.

            Microsoft didn't want (couldn't afford) Linux to gain the kind of popular credibility, that successful Linux netbooks could bring. Yet regardless of whether Windows or Linux is a better OS, Linux just ran better on the restricted hardware available for netbooks.

            This could not be tolerated, so the odd circumstance occurred, in which (for example) although the Linux EeePC 901s were outselling the Windows EeePC 901s, in bricks-and-mortar stores where they were displayed side-by-side (to the point that the Linux models were literally sold out, while Windows models were still "loitering" on the shelves) -- nonetheless the OEM (Asus) was declining to ship more Linux 901s (on the official excuse of an Atom shortage, plus a "commitment" (their word) to shipping equal numbers of each -- in other words, they wouldn't ship more of the units that actually sold well (Linux), because there was another model (Windows) that _wasn't_ selling nearly as well).

            But that kind of history keeps getting swept under the carpet. It doesn't accord with the corporate marketing, so it must be "conspiracy theory".
  • hmmm

    Is this the third or fourth time that net books have supposedly died? I lost count.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • Third.

      One time they suffered a "momentary drop" but recovered. ;)
      William Farrel
  • I could have used a netbook back when I traveled for work

    I could never get a laptop to work on a plane. it was always too big. At the time my only alternative was a UMPC.
  • My wife and I are netbook users.

    We have our own netbook we use at times more than our desktops. We find them very handy and mobile.

    As for being underpowered by design I loaded Windows 8 on mine. Eliminates the tiles and replaces them with icons that brings up the desktop. Loads and shuts down quicker than Windows 7.
  • Understandable

    They're as large as tablets but have smaller screens...

    Most people needing portable power will use moderately-powered laptops or desktops.
  • Had a Netbook, Acer 722 series.

    It was great for stuff that you can do on a tablet. So I can certainly see how the current crop of tablet offerings can displace Netbook sales.
    The Netbook, like the tablet, is not so great for stuff that you'd want to do on a desktop/laptop, although certainly much more capable than most tablets due to their limited OSes. Having said that, the pricing on the Surface Pro, with a keyboard cover is easily 3 times what I paid for my Netbook(on sale).
    Windows 8 touch screen laptops will be coming down in price, then I will pick one up to replace my lenovo v570. I don't really need a Surface Pro AND a Windows 8 laptop.
  • Mine still works fine...

    My little Eee PC does what I need it to do admirably, though I did add an extra gig of RAM to it straight off, and I'd like to bump up the hard drive to a SSD or at least a hybrid at some point. It's even fairly sturdy, given that it was considered an entry-level model in its time.

    I think there'd still be a niche for netbooks if they came standard with, say, 2 GB of memory and a decent 500GB drive (both upgradeable) and one of the upcoming Bay Trail processors without the price skyrocketing too much. Looking at 10-inch tablets available now, though they do have snazzier processors and graphics, they're still limited to a fraction of the storage space and most don't include a full keyboard or as many ports as my Eee; some of them have a worse battery life, and nearly all of them cost substantially more than I paid for the netbook plus the memory card. And that couple of hundred bucks can make a big difference to someone on a very limited budget.