Asus CEO sounds netbook death knell
Eee be doomed?
Asus CEO Jerry Shen has apparently called time on the company's pioneering Eee PC family of netbooks.
Shen has said Asus will make no more of the devices, and when current stocks have shipped that will be that, Digitimes claims.
Shen is reported to have blamed the move on falling netbooks sales in emerging markets and upon the rise of the fondleslab.
And where can the form-factor go next? Ultrabooks are thinner and more powerful - though more expensive too. Adding, say, high capacity SSDs, hi-tech slimline batteries or retina displays will lift netbooks out of the low-price zone.
Windows 8 pricing is also said to be persuading manufacturers that there's no longer money to be made in netbooks. Dell is already out of the netbook market, and Samsung has said in the past it will get out too, as has Toshiba America.
Asus makes tablets of its own, of course, and will push its Transformer series of slates in place of the Eee brand to which the range originally belonged. ®
I currently have an Eee PC 901 running Linux - I bought it four years ago as a little machine that'd be good to use on the train while commuting and the like. I still use it daily for skype and the odd bit of web browsing, typing the odd document and generally doing stuff I don't need my big workstation for.
The thing is, it's starting to show it's age now, and yet there is nothing I can replace it with. Its 9" form factor means that it will fit nicely, along with the charger in one half of my attache case when I travel. Now though, netbooks are pushing 11" and when they've gone, what's left are ultrabooks that are closer to 13", at which point I might as well just start carrying a full size laptop and pocket the difference in cost.
What I would really love someone to do is make a 9" device, with a 1366x768 screen, perhaps a small i3 processor, 4GB of ram and a small HDD at a price point of around £300. It wouldn't be anything fancy, but it would be extremely useful.
Where is she?
Terrible news, but surely a story like this needs illustration, in case we have forgotten what a typical Asus netbook user might look like?
I still have an Asus 701 which is still an amazing device despite its age because its so dinky. I actually managed to install Ubuntu and Xfce on it recently the screen res means I have to use the smallest theme around to get it to run acceptably.
In general I believe it's stupid to get rid of netbooks though I can see why they are doing it - money. Kill a popular line of inexpensive computers and then charge consumers an arm and a leg for something which does the same but costs more money. Or does less and probably still costs more money.
"Windows 8 pricing is also said to be persuading manufacturers that there's no longer money to be made in netbooks."
I've got an 701. It came with Linux, (the only reason that I bought it) and it still has Linux on it. Crunchbang as it happens. It does what I want and is really only used for long periods when I go on holiday. Then it's perfect, small, light and easy to use.
So the bloated cost of Windows 8 is making the economics of netbooks unrealistic. Why not go back to Linux? After all that's what they were originally designed for and only pressure from MS made manufacturers put XP on them.
Or could it be that Win 8 on a netbook might take sales away from the "Surface" and the aforementioned pressure is being applied again?
I'm with you on the 9" device idea, the tech certainly exists - eg you can buy a LVDS 8.9inch 1280x768 TFT screen with a HDMI / DVI / VGA input control board for $150 shipped so imagine what it costs in bulk without the standalone control board, it shouldn't be difficult for a manufacturer to create a "next gen" Eee equivilant with mostly off-the-shelf tech, keeping the costs down.
Ultrabooks are just too expensive to justify getting one, especially in ths time of austerity.