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Acer's best-selling netbook on Amazon this week, the Aspire One, costs just $252.
Price of netbooks is advantage over tablets

While the sound of tablets' soaring popularity has been likened to a death rattle for PC devices -- particularly the netbook -- PC giant Acer has held firm in its stance that it would not phase out netbooks in favor of tablets. But with the resignation of longtime CEO Gianfranco Lanci over a difference of vision last month (the Acer board members want the company to become more like Apple), that position was cast into doubt.

But, regardless of the Taiwan-based company's new direction, Acer has again reiterated that it believes in the netbook market, Elizabeth Woyke of Forbes reports in her blog. 

"Tablets have impacted overall netbook sales, but we’re not stepping away from the [netbook] segment," Eric Ackerson, an Acer senior product marketing and brand manager, told Woyke. "We think there’s still opportunity for sales, including in the U.S."

There's one key factor that, at least for now, is keeping netbooks in the race: price. Woyke points out that nearly all tablets are in the $400+ price range. Apple's iPad, which is the de facto gold standard of tablets, can cost as much as $829 at its highest price point. Meanwhile, netbooks typically run south of $300, many in the $250 range. 

Acer also indicated that the features you can pack into a netbook almost are on par with some notebooks, and that many consumers still continue to favor a physical keyboard over a virtual touchscreen one on tablets. 

"The death of netbooks is overstated," Acer spokeswoman Lisa Emard told Woyke. "We may not see the same explosive growth [in the category] as before, but the netbook price point is still killer."



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By vision33r on 5/5/2011 9:38:49 AM , Rating: 3
I would never buy another Acer tablet or netbook. Quality is just bad and price ain't that much cheaper.

Right now a tablet is a better choice than netbook because of battery life, portability, and choice of apps. You may have full apps running on netbooks but they run like crap on a short battery life.

Tablets now have great battery life and runs zippy with native apps. Say you're checking Facebook, you may get hit with a virus on a netbook but a tablet is mostly immuned to most malware today.




By tekzor on 5/5/2011 10:18:51 AM , Rating: 2
tablets definitely are better at what netbooks are visualized for. Portability, battery life, ease of access. Still netbooks out now can give you 6 hours battery life and a semi full laptop experience.


By Xonoahbin on 5/5/2011 11:37:02 AM , Rating: 2
I have this netbook:
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-1015PEM-PU17-BK-10-1-In...

It's not even three pounds, very portable, great "ease of access" as you call it, and the battery lasts anywhere between 10-14 hours of actual use (with wifi on, browsing, etc).

$331 on Amazon right now. Little more expensive than some netbooks, but you can't seriously tell me tablets consistently beat this price/performance point. Furthermore, the physical keyboard makes it possible to actually be productive on one of these things..


By quiksilvr on 5/5/2011 1:24:38 PM , Rating: 3
The real question you have to ask yourself is this: Is this a primary device? Chances are the answer will be no. Netbooks and tablets are mainly used as a secondary device to your device/big boy notebook.

And I agree that netbooks are indeed better, but what if all you need is a 7" tablet that can get online and can run basic apps? It's a much more convenient than a netbook and most consumers are realizing this.


By Omega215D on 5/5/2011 5:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
The Thinkpad X120e is a great netbook with its Fusion platform, decent battery life and solid build quality. It's almost as quick as my 2007 era MacBook and it looks better (professionally).

Acer products on the other hand are just bleh. I have their monitors and dealt with their Aspire One which was nowhere near the Thinkpad.


By Shadowmaster625 on 5/5/2011 10:23:34 AM , Rating: 5
Do you have any actual evidence that surfing facebook is inherently safer or faster on a $250 tablet than on a $250 netbook? And if you think that $250 netbook run horribly, just try using a $250 tablet. If you're going to compare a $600+ tablet to a netbook then you're talking about a $600 AMD fusion/ Intel CULV + SSD + 9cell netbook, which would blow the freakin guts out of any tablet in every measurable category except viewing angle. Let's have a little honesty here. Tablets are a product based on an expensive form factor that has been hyped to death for not years but actual literal decades. (See Star Trek: TNG from 25 years ago.) That form factor sells only because people are stupid and/or do not actually work for their money. No one with an actual brain or an actual job would turn down a decked out fully functional 12" notebook for a crippled $600 tablet that cant do anything except present you with content to consume. Use your brain, while you still have one, if you still have one. $600 is an insane amount of money to spend on a portable content consumption device. Anyone who buys one is one step away from being sold a chewable cyanide pill.


By damianrobertjones on 5/5/2011 11:23:20 AM , Rating: 1
Possibly the single best reply I've read in ages with regards to tablets.


By omnicronx on 5/5/2011 11:46:21 AM , Rating: 5
I have a laptop, I have a desktop, and I have ULV for work.

Am I really that stupid for wanting a portable device that I can bring everywhere whose primary purpose will be to consume content anyways? (i.e I don't need or want the full laptop experience)

Seriously, 30 years ago you would have been part of the same group of people whining that it makes no sense to spend $3000 dollars on a computer, because you could do pretty much everything you can do on a computer with a pen and pad of paper or a typewriter.

If you are in the group of people that 'actually work for your money', you probably are far above the poverty line and you make multiple frivolous purchase each year that you probably did not need. As a result I find your response very hypocritical as I could probably make the same kind of negative 'you don't actually need this you are stupid' comments about some of the stuff you buy.


By omnicronx on 5/5/2011 11:53:04 AM , Rating: 3
I would also like to point out that there is no comparison between a netbook GPU (most using integrated Intel graphics 4 years ago) and a tablet GPU of today. You would have to go into the CULV territory in order to have the same kind of experience in terms of consumables.

So you won't be playing games, and you will probably require some kind of internet connectivity to really do anything.

At that point you are now above the minimum price-point of a tablet too which start at $500.

Tablets are clearly not for everyone, but to make a blind statement calling a bunch of people stupid makes absolutely no sense.


By cknobman on 5/5/2011 11:07:03 AM , Rating: 2
My Acer netbook only cost $150 and quality on it is great.

Never had a single problem with my netbook and for the price I dont think there is a tablet deal on the planet that can come close to it.


By johnbuk on 5/5/2011 11:25:36 AM , Rating: 2
Spent $300 on my Acer netbook, but I went with a model that has a dual core processor, 11" screen, and a full version of Windows 7 instead of Windows 7 Starter.
My only complaint would be that battery life isn't that great (but I knew that from my research before I bought it). Quality of it has been excellent and I would buy another.


By cknobman on 5/5/2011 11:31:44 AM , Rating: 2
My model is a 2nd gen Atom 1.66 ghz single core 1gb ram 160gb hdd and windows xp pro.


By Mitch101 on 5/5/2011 11:29:44 AM , Rating: 1
I agree my $300.00 ACER Notebook on a Walmart special more than does the job. Some people will say the keyboard feels cheap but its never given me a problem and I rather like the bulk of the laptop for me size matters if you make it too small it wont have a usable keyboard to me.

ACER of 20 years ago I might complain about but ACER of today has been good to me.


By priusone on 5/6/2011 4:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
I keep my $150 netbook in the living room/kitchen area. The screen is small so it doesn't put out enough light to bother other people who are watch movies, and if something goes horrifically wrong in the kitchen, I'm not down $1000, only $150.


He does have a point
By amanojaku on 5/5/2011 9:23:57 AM , Rating: 2
But let's be honest here.

1) The difference between $250 (usually $350) and $500 isn't that much
2) A Netbook, while small, is still bulkier than a tablet (assuming the tablet doesn't have some ridiculous case)
3) I wouldn't be replacing a Core2 or Athlon with the procs normally found in either a Netbook or tablet, so who cares which is more "powerful" (at least for now)
4) A well-built tablet may last longer since it has less complicated, and no moving, parts

Personally, I need my battleship laptop (virtualization/product demo box), but I would probably look at a tablet before a Netbook. But that's because I have access to virtual desktops and wouldn't need Windows and applications on my toy. Er, tablet.




RE: He does have a point
By stburke on 5/5/2011 9:42:01 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
1) The difference between $250 (usually $350) and $500 isn't that much

For me it is.
quote:
2) A Netbook, while small, is still bulkier than a tablet (assuming the tablet doesn't have some ridiculous case)

Maybe because they have a physical keyboard?
quote:
3) I wouldn't be replacing a Core2 or Athlon with the procs normally found in either a Netbook or tablet, so who cares which is more "powerful" (at least for now)

With Windows 8 being able to run on ARM, I see a looot of potential for Asus transformer style netbook/tablets coming up.
quote:
4) A well-built tablet may last longer since it has less complicated, and no moving, parts

True, they are a bit more "solid" but really the only moving part is going to be the cooling system. Otherwise, no disc drive, and and SSD ($)


RE: He does have a point
By xeno81 on 5/5/2011 10:06:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe because they have a physical keyboard?


My gTab has a host USB that supports a physical USB keyboard, and I do use it from time to time. Other tablets support USB Bluetooth dongles for wireless, as well.


RE: He does have a point
By Da W on 5/5/2011 10:19:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
With Windows 8 being able to run on ARM, I see a looot of potential for Asus transformer style netbook/tablets coming up.


Point. I'd see an ARM soc on the tablet part with an optional Brazos or ULV Sandy bridge SOC in the optional base. The whole thing seemlessly synced with your desktop/other machines and synced in the clouds since a syncing module like Windows Live mesh will be integrated into Windows 8. So you carry all your files on all your devices, no need to swap memory card or USB stick. Now if Microsoft could only add a feature like HP's touch to share, they would have a winner!


RE: He does have a point
By The Raven on 5/5/2011 11:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
With Windows 8 being able to run on ARM, I see a looot of potential for Asus transformer style netbook/tablets coming up.

Though I agree with your other pro-netbook arguments, this actually sounds like an argument for tablets. But you bring up a good point regarding the OS of a typical tablet: it is not a "real" OS (meaning somehow limited by OS choice of Android/iOS).

So to address this comment:
quote:
There's one key factor that, at least for now, is keeping netbooks in the race: price.

More reason I see:
1) More OS choices
2) Swappable batteries
3) Better speakers lol
4) Built in case and stand
5) Keyboard/tactile buttons
6) Ports ports ports

Of course I am not down on tablets as I see a usefulness but they are not for me and many other people so I don't see them going anywhere soon. But over time many of these differences will dissappear as technology advances where tablets are able to handle such things as swappable bateries, etc. and the interfaces of the "real" OSs are tuned to run on them all. Also as the definition of netbook and tablet are blurred (e.g. said Transformer or Lenovo's S10-3t type models). Then someone will call them Nettabs or Tabbooks and people will decry nettops and tablets alike and announce the fall of both.


RE: He does have a point
By Taft12 on 5/5/2011 11:27:48 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) The difference between $250 (usually $350) and $500 isn't that much


What? I wish I was a retail store in YOUR neigbourhood!


RE: He does have a point
By OS on 5/5/2011 12:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1) The difference between $250 (usually $350) and $500 isn't that much
quote:


100% more, or twice as much, "isn't that much"??

well if we're going to go down that road a 1K macbook air or toshiba portege isn't that much more either...


Netbooks forever!
By bleekii on 5/5/2011 12:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
This article bothers me because it acts like this is a surprise debatable claim. It fails to understand the nature of technology as many of my fellow geeks do. Many people believe in the false idea of linear progress and a strict technological hierarchy. They don't see that technology, like all forms of progress, exists in an environment of ideas. And where there is a market of those ideas they will thrive. Ideas and the technology which embodies them are both divergent and convergent.

So I say. The netbook and tablet are separate forms of related technology. The netbook is a divergence from the notebook while the tablet is divergence of the smart phone. Both of these technologies are forms of computing and communication which in their respective form factors fulfill different roles.

Netbooks will see their currently overpopulated market shrink under pressure from tablets and smart phones. As with all large computing form factors, desktops, laptops, and netbooks, the move of the popular platform to app based ultra mobile devices, smart phones and tablets, will shrink the large form factors market slightly. The netbook is on the fringe of large form factor territory verging into ultra mobile space and will suffer more but will NOT go extinct.

I personally don't have a high opinion of tables. They are too much of a generalist device to be useful to me. I think a convergence of netbooks and tablets which would be a far more useful device with a keyboard and optional mouse. I also would like to see a convergence with the e-reader which would allow for easy reading with e-ink screens in addition to better computing abilities than current e-readers. The tablet is ripe for be diverging into more useful platforms but until then they are filed under lame platform for the masses in my opinion.




Lets be really honest...
By TimberJon on 5/5/2011 1:38:43 PM , Rating: 2
The natural progression of all this internet & entertainment access will be pulling up data behind the privacy of our eyes, in our heads or in a hud-like view only we can see. We will all get wired with implants when they are available that provide computing power, storage and some kind of connection to the net. Call it BioFi or whatever you want. We will get connected, its our digital fate. As all new and NEEDED things are, it will be prohibitively expensive but a novelty in the beginning. Then megacorps will R&D it down to an affordable consumer level and BING there we all are checking mail in our heads. When its here, it will unify communications like nothing else and almost make hardware obsolete.

I guess its kind of like my analogy about tattoos. Why pay to ink up permanently when you can wait for programmable ones? Then you can turn 'em off at work, and proudly display whatever you like off-hours. You could even animate them. I'd rather save my dough for that.




Hmm
By KoolAidMan1 on 5/6/2011 6:11:30 AM , Rating: 2
Nice to see that the Iraqi Information Minister found work




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