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Acer: tablets will replace netbooks

Mini laptops to be phased out

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So farewell then, netbooks, at from Acer. The PC giant is to phase them out as it transitions to tablets.

So said Taiwan-based sales manager Lu Bing-Hsian yesterday. He was quoted by IDG.

It's not clear when Acer will stop selling netbooks - it launched its latest one just two weeks ago at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - but its representative revealed that a stack of tablets due to debut during the first six months of 2011 will be 'netbook killers'.

"They are aimed at phasing out netbooks," he said. "That’s the direction of the market."

Acer will continue to make and sell netbooks, he added, but fewer and fewer of them over time as punters shift to tablets.

Expect 7in and 10in models, some running Android, others running Windows. Some will contain ARM-designed processors, others will run on Intel's second-generation Core i chips, codenamed 'Sandy Bridge'.

Lu didn't say so, but we suspect there may be some Atom-based offerings too.

The move essentially sounds the death knell for the netbook, at least as anything other than a niche product for developing countries and the education market.

Of course, the irony is that netbooks were only promoted because their predecessors, the tablet-like UMPCs, weren't much cop: poor battery life, bulky designs, woeful touchscreens and weak touchscreen support in Windows.

Now that Apple and, more recently, Samsung have shown that tablets can be done properly these days, the industry seems keen to return to the UMPC concept. ®

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