With disappointing sales and other form factors-such as tablets-coming to the fore, HP and Dell reportedly are rethinking their investments in 10-inch netbooks, according to a report in DigitTimes. Netbooks helped the PC space stay afloat during the recession, but with better economic times and Windows 7, consumers may be looking more toward full-featured laptops.
Hewlett-Packard and Dell, No. 1 and No. 3 in the worldwide PC market,
respectively, may be scaling back their investments in the 10-inch netbook
space, according to reports.
quoting unnamed sources from netbook manufacturers, said April 1 that the two
vendors are considering the move because of disappointing sales of the systems
powered by Intel's "Pine Trail" platform, which includes the company's Atom
With the Atom N450, Intel gave vendors and users a number of
new features-including better performance by combining the CPU and graphics
capabilities on the chip as well as longer battery life.
However, that hasn't resulted in a bump in sales, according to
the sources, so HP and Dell officials are looking to scale back what they do
with the 10-inch netbooks, and HP reportedly is considering dumping the 10-inch
notebook altogether in favor of focusing on 11.6-inch systems powered by
processors from Advanced Micro Devices.
The OEMs also are putting more effort behind other devices,
According to the report, other top-tier netbook
makers-including Acer (the second largest global PC vendor), Asus and
Samsung-will continue investing heavily in netbooks. However, second-tier
netbook vendors and white-box makers are quitting the market, unable or
unwilling to keep up with deep price cuts the top-tier OEMs put in place in the
second half of 2009 to boost holiday sales.
During the deepest months of the worldwide recession,
netbooks-or mininotebooks-were a key
to helping the PC market stay afloat
analysts in December 2009 said that the combination of back-to-school sales and
consumer mobile devices-including netbooks-led the PC market to 2.4 percent
growth in the third quarter of 2009.
Sales of netbooks grew 37 percent over the second quarter.
Overall, the PC market is continuing a strong rebound, fueled
in large part by the release of Windows 7 as well as sales of lower-cost PCs,
including netbooks, according to Gartner analysts in January. Shipments in the
fourth quarter of 2009 grew 22.1 percent over the same period in 2008.
Holiday price cuts and pent-up demand
also helped drive sales, IDC said.
All this is good news for HP, Dell, Acer and other PC makers as
2010 rolls along, and with the recession ebbing, netbooks-with their fewer
hardware and operating features-may become less attractive alternatives to full
Windows 7 notebooks.
In addition, the vendor rush to tablet PCs may also further marginal
netbooks. HP is working on its Slate
, Dell has
its Mini 5
, and the big one-Apple's
-hits stores April 3.