Linked by the_randymon on Wed 2nd Jan 2013 22:01 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems Asus is the company that shook up the laptop market a couple of years ago with their introduction of the EeePC netbook. And with their announcement that they will no longer be producing netbooks in 2013, Charles Arthur over at the Guardian UK has declared that the netbook era has now come to an end. Sad news for those of us who still love our netbooks! Harry McCracken over at Time Mag thinks they'll be back. Anybody who spends time wiping the smears off their tablet's touchscreen might agree.
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What makes it sad to me is for a little while there you were getting frankly pretty powerful units at affordable prices, I paid $350 USD for my EEE PC, its got an AMD E350 dual core and does 1080P over HDMI and after 3 years still runs like a champ, even has full VM support so if I need to go to some website to download drivers for a customer I can just fire up a Puppy Linux VM and away I go.

That said its obvious who killed the netbook...Steve Ballmer. He raised the price of Windows from the $15-$25 they were paying for XP to nearly $40 just for basic and by doing so simply made netbooks a money losing proposition. Considering this is the same man that is about to hand ALL of the Windows OEMs over to Google on a silver platter by getting Microsoft in the X86 hardware business? We really shouldn't be surprised.

Its a shame that ChromeOS didn't come out with a true offline mode as maybe they would have saved the netbook, but I know there are a LOT of us that will be hanging onto our netbooks for dear life. After all where else am I gonna get a system that weighed less than 3 pounds, gets 4 hours even after 3 years of use on the battery, and even plays L4D and the Portal games for less than $400 with 8GB of RAM and a carrying case?

Reply Parent Score: 4

the_randymon Member since:

That said its obvious who killed the netbook...Steve Ballmer. He raised the price of Windows from the $15-$25 they were paying for XP to nearly $40 just for basic and by doing so simply made netbooks a money losing proposition.

I think the consumer gets to take some of the blame too, although I agree Ballmer made a big effort to stick a fork in netbooks. But the consumer saw the first EEEPCs and said "I love it, but wish it ran Windows instead of this weird Linux thing made by Xandros." Then when it got Windows consumers wished it had more capacity, so they went with hard drives instead of SSDs. Then they wanted a slightly bigger keyboard. And boom, they were back to having a Windows laptop.

Then the ipad came along, which looked and acted sufficiently different consumers realized they couldn't just wish it were more like the Windows laptops they were accustomed to, and buckled down to figure out the new interface. (Having tons of cool apps didn't hurt).

My point is, I feel like the market bent to consumer will (and Ballmer's shotgun) and netbooks got warped back into the 'familiar format' everyone knows and actually kind of hates. And when they finally got what they wanted they realized they actually don't like it.

Ipads also turned heads because they were 'new' and it was a nice change from XP/Vista.

Reply Parent Score: 5

bassbeast Member since:

I'm sorry but you are wrong and here is why: blaming the consumer ignores the fact that the OEMs made HORRIBLE calls when it came to Linux. What they SHOULD have done is made their own fork off of Debian Stable, that would give them an underpinning with a nice long support cycle and then put on a nice friendly GUI along with their own GUI front end to the repos to make it more like an appstore.

What we GOT was...drumroll...Xandros, a company that was already on the ropes thanks to a disastrous purchase of Scalix leaving the company dead broke, and Linpus...really? Linpus? And your points about the hardware are frankly off as well, it was the OEMs that switched because the price of the chips used in those bottom of the barrel SSDs went through the roof so frankly it was cheaper to slap a 300GB HDD in them than buy a 32GB SSD. If you'll look up the review of the first EEEs you'll see the "SSD" was frankly more like a flash stick, REALLY shitty throughput and not great power draw but they were dirt cheap which was all that Asus cared about with them.

But what killed the netbook were 3 things, Intel killed ION by killing the Nvidia chipset business, the last AMD CEO burnt the company to the ground by firing all the engineers thus leaving them with no follow up to Brazos and struggling to get enough Brazos chips out the door to fill demand, and of course Ballmer getting stoned and deciding that if he jacked the price on Windows it would be seen as being "hip and trendy" like Apple.

But the consumer wasn't the problem, it was the OEMs. In point of fact I was having hell just getting any Brazos netbooks at all to sell, the OEMs ended up using what few brazos chips they could get on their full size laptops and only selling Atom netbooks which frankly were like a bad joke, even Linux couldn't polish THAT turd. This is why you see Brazos netbooks selling for nearly $500 on Amazon and being sold out, its not that people didn't want the netbook form factor, its just that they wanted it with a chip that didn't feel like something from the 90s.

Reply Parent Score: 2