Is it time to say sayanora to netbooks? In the next couple of quarters, this cost-effective mini-laptop will be off the shelves in India as global manufacturers have stopped production of these devices to focus on tablets.

The manufacturers have halted the production due to unavailability of Intel’s Atom processors that are being used in these devices.

Also, lightweight and sleek laptops, cheap tablets and high-end smartphones have ensured the death of the netbooks, that are now available at less than Rs 20,000, half the price of laptops.

Focus on tablets

Asustek and Acer are the only two companies still making netbooks while others such as Samsung, HP and Dell have shifted their focus to tablets. HCL withdrew netbooks long back, said Vishal Tripathi, Principal Research Analyst at research firm Gartner.

Also, Intel has shifted its focus to Windows 8 tablets with its low-power Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processors. This has sounded the death knell of netbooks. There is still a demand for netbooks from the Government and education sectors, but the supply will be a big question mark, said Tripathi.

Princy Bhatnagar, Vice-President, Head,Consumer Computing, HCL Infosystems, said that netbook today is not really a value proposition, as the choice is between laptop and a tablet. A netbook is more or less extinct, he said.

As compared to a netbook, the tablet is a compact device with better design and connectivity features and also addresses mobile computing needs of the user. Anticipating this trend, HCL withdrew itsnetbook offering in June 2011, he said.

While there is still a demand for netbooks from first time PC buyers, some vendors are more likely to bet on their existing and future laptops to be powered by ‘new generation’ processors and Windows 8. These devices would include ultra-slim notebooks, ultrabooks, and the upcoming touch-enabled notebooks. The trend today is towards touch-screen capabilities, content creation and multi-media features, said Shailendra Katyal, Director, Consumer Business Segment, Lenovo India.

According to Shishir Singh, Director, Product Marketing, Dell India, in India, netbooks were low-power companion devices, which did not meet the full usage needs of first time buyers. Today, there is relatively more awareness in the market about PC technology and the purpose it serves, with companies making clear categorisation of these devices based on customer needs and use.

Education market

ABI Research said that though nearly six million netbooks will be shipped into the global education market this year, these shipments are predicted to decline by over 50 per cent in 2013 from last year.

Two years ago, over 50 million netbooks were shipped globally.

Earlier this month, Acer and Asus announced halting the production of netbooks, following a number of other hardware computing OEMs that include Dell, HP, and Samsung, saying they are getting out of netbooks.

(This article was published on April 5, 2013)
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