The constant clamour against Tablets has been that they’re fine little content consumption machines — good for entertainment, in other words — but they’re not much cop when it comes to productivity. That hasn’t stopped tablets as a category from selling very well indeed, and it looks like the tablet market has scored its first scalp, albeit one that’s quite predictable; netbook sales are slowing and vendors are reluctant to launch new models, or in the case of some vendors, they’re canning the lines entirely.
The most recent company to leave the netbook market behind is Dell. They’ve dropped the Inspiron Mini line, instead focusing on the thin and light ultrabook-and-above market for its consumer lines. It’s not a confirmed matter, but it’s suspected that Samsung will also pull out of the netbook market in the near future. It’ll be interesting to see whether the ultrabook market has more profit potential for Dell (or anyone, for that matter), but from a consumer end it’s a little sad to see netbooks being left behind, although in reality they’ve been being left behind for quite some time now.
Over time, the number of netbooks available on store shelves has shrunk, and these days they’re not as enticing as they once were. When first launched, netbooks weren’t the most powerful systems out there, but the problem, essentially speaking, is that that’s exactly where they’ve stayed. Most netbooks you’ll find run on only a handful of processors, most markedly a smattering of Intel’s Atom processors, and there hasn’t been a significant speed or performance boost in those for quite some time. What that means is that while tablets have come along in leaps and bounds, whether you sit on the Android or iOS side of the fence, netbooks have mostly stood still. The kind of performance you get out of a netbook today is a little bit better than the original batch of netbooks, but not by any great deal. As such, while they’ve stayed cheap, they’re comparable in price to a tablet, and even an entry level notebook will offer more power and flexibility at a price point that’s not notably higher than the entry level price of a tablet.
That doesn’t mean that a netbook’s always a bad buying option — but it’s certainly one that you’d want to buy quite cheaply right now; while premium netbooks have all but vanished to be replaced by ultrabooks, you’re still largely buying old technology, and the old maxim about technology holds as true as it ever did; if you buy the best thing within your budget at the time of writing (subject to your needs, naturally) it’ll be capable of running the latest software iterations for longer than if you just buy the cheapest unit available.