Acer is continuing to push netbooks, despite its rivals' increased focus on tablets and ultrabooks.
will continue to manufacture netbooks, even as many of its manufacturing rivals
shift their focus to super-thin "ultrabooks" and tablets.
once proved a white-hot seller, snatched up by consumers interested in their
low price and portability. Two opposing forces helped wither that market:
manufacturers' own desire to push products with higher margins (in mid-2009, at
the height of the netbook craze, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told the audience
at his company's Financial Analyst Meeting that the industry was already
looking at higher-priced products capable of the same lightweight performance),
and the emergence of tablets as the go-to device for many people on the go.
the wake of that, many manufacturers shifted focus from netbooks to other
product areas. Current
hint that Samsung is considering an exit from the segment
altogether. However, Acer evidently sees the developing world as a market for
the form factor.
is still demand for netbooks in developing countries such as Indonesia and
India, where netbooks have become critical tools among students for information
education," Scott Lin, corporate vice president and president of Acer's Taiwan
operations, is quoted as saying in a Focus
report Nov. 27. "Acer will absolutely keep making netbooks."
is also joining in the rush to develop ultrabooks, or laptops that adhere to
the same thin-and-light design as netbooks, only with more powerful hardware.
Its Aspire S3-1 will compete against Asus' UX21, Toshiba's Dynabook and other
models expected to hit the market full-force in coming quarters. This January's
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas will feature as many as 50
ultrabook models from various companies.
remains an aggressive driver of the nascent ultrabook phenomenon, working with
those manufacturers to ensure the devices conform to relatively strict
turn, the emphasis on ultrabooks is a sea change from this time in 2010, when
most of the heavy-hitter manufacturers were busy toting an Android-based
tablet. However, many of these "iPad killers" arrived on store shelves only to
gather dust, sometimes selling well as niche products but certainly not
challenging Apple's millions of tablet sales.
to be outdone, Acer has explored the tablet market with products such as the
Iconia Tab A100 and Windows-powered Tab W500. Even as it tries to carve off its
own share of such newer markets, though, it seems unwilling to wholly abandon
an old one.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter