Netbooks are so over — for Dell at least. One of the leading computer makers is throwing in the towel on the small and underpowered laptops. From here on out, Ultrabooks will be the way to go.
Call it inevitable if you will, because as soon as the iPad hit the scene in 2010, the netbook was ready to die. Coming from a person who bought a netbook (HP Mini) and used it very briefly (those things just kept getting chunkier and more expensive), I'd say it's time for the netbook to vanish into the closet of tech fads.
Liliputing noticed that Dell's website no longer lets shoppers buy a 10-inch Inspiron Mini and The Verge confirmed with Dell's Marketing Director Alison Gardner that the company was no longer producing netbooks. Gardner replied with:
"Thin and powerful is where it is at for us."
Although I'm a 2011 MacBook Air owner, I've seen every new Ultrabook that's been announced from the Asus Zenbooks to the Lenovo U300. All of them have full-sized keyboards and blow netbooks out of the water. They're really great. We're moving into an era of extreme portability and style.
What made the original 7-inch Asus EeePC great was that it wasn't a laptop. It was an evolution of the vision for a Ultra Mobile Portable Computer (UMPC). The original EeePC ran a very lightweight Linux OS and had just enough power to check email, IM, Tweet and do light browsing. As netbooks started becoming more laptop-like, they lost their reason to exist.
The question became: why not just buy a regular laptop for $500 instead of a beefy netbook?
Indeed, most people started to drop the netbook real fast. Where netbooks used to fill Starbucks shops, iPads now sit.
2012 will be the year of the Ultrabook. CES is expected to bring the announcement of 30-50 Ultrabooks. There won't be any room for tablets, Ultrabooks and netbooks.
Dell's dropping them. Samsung is rumored to be dropping them. It's time the rest of the industry put the final stabs into the netbook's heart. It'll be for the better. We can't move forward by hanging on to crappy tech.