While PC makers are running full-speed to chase the iPad's success, it's notable that just as quickly they've stopped talking about Netbooks. Some people call them mini-notebooks. Even more people now call them that thing that's bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a laptop that looks more than a little bit clunky next to a tablet device.
Between October and December last year, PC makers shipped 10.5 million mini-notebooks, according to Gartner. That may have been a market peak. Fast-forward to the first quarter of this year: 9.7 million units shipped. Tick forward again to the second quarter of this year, and 8.4 million Netbooks left PC factories. The numbers are expected to drop even further in the coming months.
So what happened? It's not a stretch to connect the dots between the rise of the iPad and the sudden drop in last year's most-hyped product category. Even before the iPad was officially introduced in January, the talk of the PC world just a few weeks prior at CES 2010 was about tablets. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Archos showed touch-screen tablets somewhat tentatively--few details were named, and some shipping dates were vague--but it was clear the attention had shifted away from targeting consumers looking for a new mobile device with Netbooks. … Read more