Purpose Built: Goodbye Netbooks, Hello Tablets?
In my mind, the netbook phenomena seems short lived now that the iPad is around. In fact, I sold my own netbook after it was collecting dust since the iPad entered my life. But whether Apple had something to do with it or not, the netbook arena doesn’t seem as robust as it was in 2008. What’s the deal? Read on…
The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article detailing that Dell plans to emphasize tablets instead of netbooks. Why is that? WSJ says that…
Steve Felice, the company’s president of consumer, small and medium business…agreed with analysts’ projections that tablet devices will hurt netbook sales.
“There are still a lot of netbooks being sold, but I think they’re going to continue to decline in terms of total mix versus what they did the last couple of years,” Felice said.
He also reiterated Dell’s stance that “from a customer experience standpoint, mainstream notebooks are better” than netbooks. Netbook[‘s]… [are]…lower-price machines [which] can also mean lower margins, perhaps helping explain why Dell has shied away from them.
Dell isn’t alone. Asus has cut its netbook sales expectations amid the iPad wave. And back in April 2010, CNet suggested that the netbook market may have already peaked. Even our intrepid Joe Panettieri found netbooks troublesome to work with, specifically the keyboard size. He therefore sticks with a full-sized notebook and full-sized keyboard.
So that’s where this blogger speculates that tablets are more useful, purpose-driven devices. Given the right operating system (read: NOT a traditional desktop OS) a tablet computer can provide a user with anything he or she needs to get done, without making it an inconvenience, and yes, even provide a full sized keyboard when needed (like the iPad + Bluetooth Keyboard).
What Dell, Lenovo, and any other tablet manufacturer has to bring to the table is the idea that the desktop experience doesn’t work so well when you really shrink the desktop (and in the netbook’s case, keyboard, too.) Most netbooks come with screen resolutions that were standard in 1995, so unsurprisingly, desktop OSes and applications are squished.
As HP ramps up its Web OS tablet, it’s clear that a smart mobile operating system will dominate the mobile arena as desktop OSes stick to what they know best — PCs and notebooks.
The next question to ask, however, is if that mobile experience can scale up? Keep your eyes on Apple as this blogger thinks they’ll be looking to take iOS to bigger devices…