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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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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.

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