The PC maker is ditching the once-popular netbook in favor of thin and light laptops, including ultrabooks.
Dell apparently is doing away with
netbooks to make room for ultrabooks.
The world's second-largest PC maker is
no longer selling its line of Inspiron Mini notebooks, choosing instead to
focus its efforts on thin and light notebooks, including the ultrabook category
championed by giant chip maker Intel.
The 10-inch Inspiron Minis are no
longer listed on the company's Website, and a search returns a message saying
the systems are no longer available. Instead, the site recommends what it calls
"the next best thing": the Inspiron 14R, a 14-inch laptop "with
Dell officials said the Dell Mini
netbooks are gone and won't be coming back. In an emailed statement to CNET
, Matthew Hutchison,
director of Dell global consumer PR, said the company "sold through the
Dell Mini some time ago. We're committed to the highly portable space and have
focused on delivering thin + powerful solutions, for which we've seen strong
success, particularly in our XPS line."
Netbooks hit the market in 2008 and
found a strong following, in large part fueled by the global recession.
Consumers were looking for relatively inexpensive computing options, and the
small netbooks met the demand. Intel introduced its Atom line of low-power
processors initially for the netbook market. In May 2009, IDC analysts said
netbooks and cloud computing were two of the key emerging technologies for that
year, due to buyers' collapsing budgets.
Netbooks saw greater competition from
the growing numbers of low-power and higher-performing laptops that were
hitting the market that offered more functionality than netbooks. Then came
Apple's iPad in 2010, which kicked off a reinvigorated tablet PC market and has
severely limited sales of netbooks and slowed the growth of the overall PC
market, according to analysts.
"The U.S. PC market continued to
contract in 2Q11, largely as a result of three factors," IDC analyst
Rajani Singh said in a statement in July, when the analyst firm announced its
second-quarter PC market numbers. "The first is an ongoing contraction in
the Mini Notebook (Netbook) market and related inventories. The second is the
impact of 2Q10's difficult-to-sustain 12% growth. And third, demand has
softened as corporate buyers continue to focus on increasing share of their IT
budget in new IT solutions such as cloud and virtualization, and consumer
interest shifts to media tablets."
Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa saw the
same thing in October, when the firm announced its third-quarter PC numbers. "The
popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and
smartphones, took consumers' spending away from PCs," Kitagawa said in a
Still, some vendors, including Acer, Asus
and Toshiba, continue to push
However, Intel and PC OEMs are now
pushing another PC segment, the ultrabook, which is designed to have the
functionality of traditional notebooks while offering features-such as
instant-on and always-connected capabilities, longer battery life and,
eventually, touch capabilities-that are found in tablets.
Analysts say ultrabooks could jump-start
a listless PC market while also giving Intel some traction in the highly coveted mobile computing space