Netbooks – Arrington misses the point, Intel the plot

November 29, 2008

OPINION: Netbooks - Arrington misses the point, Intel the plotNetbooks are in the news again, but for different reasons. Michael Arrington is proclaiming their insignificance, while Intel is having second thoughts about the machines they were touting as if they were the Second Coming.

Arrington has a post about his “Three Reasons Why Netbooks Aren’t Good Enough”, and all I can say is that he, and too many tech pundits totally missed the point of the devices.

In the first place, the Asus EeePC and similar notebooks were never meant to replace your ‘real’ notebooks. Asus likely hoped that buyers who didn’t see the point of full-fledged notebooks could find some other reason to buy stuff from it. Why not netbooks?

He even talks about how Intel is backing off from pushing the Netbook platform, but likely Intel was just trying to ride on the coattails of the netbook craze. Instead of letting the netbook phenomenon fizzle out as a fad, Intel pushed marketing dollars at the concept and now belatedly realizes that maybe the machines aren’t all that great after all.

They were never meant to be. Why would Asus try and create a line that would affect sales of its notebooks? Because they knew netbooks would never really replace real PCs. The whole point of a netbooks is to surf the Internet and handle the most basic of tasks. Their creation was just pragmatic acceptance that not everyone needs or wants something that does too much.

Yes, no one would want to use an EeePC for more than a couple of hours. That’s because they weren’t designed for long-term usage. Neither were laptops, really, but witness all the Mac fanboys ignoring ergonomics to be virtually tethered to their shiny notebooks.

Past all the marketing bull and hype, netbooks are just simple, cheap machines that weren’t designed to do too much. First time computer buyers would likely have their appetites whetted to buy ‘real’ notebooks once they’ve exhausted the capabilities of the machines. If they even manage to do that, netbooks have probably done their duty as far as Asus and other PC makers are concerned. Intel’s about turn was just a case of them realizing they’d been believing their own hype, and Arrington? Well, he’s just stating the obvious and missing the point by a ballpark and then some.

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2 Responses to “Netbooks – Arrington misses the point, Intel the plot”

  1. DavidB:

    Sorry, agree with Arrington. They’re useless. A Blackberry or iPhone has far more utility for the same or equal price. Every “netbook” I’ve tried has been essentially useless coming from my past of using a full fledged laptop for going on 20 years, and I find myself agreeing with Michael that a snartphone is far better at filling the need for on the go utility than any netbook out there.

  2. Ken:

    I disagree that a Blackberry or iPhone has far more utility. The physical screen size on either one blows compared to a netbook. People that disagree are like eunuchs rationalizing the benefits of being a harem guard. Yeah, there are worst jobs but….

    The main issue I have with netbooks is an acceptable one is so close in price to a 13″ or 15″ laptop they don’t make fiscal sense.

    $199- 10″ screen, gig of RAM and 20 gig SSD would be great. The whole Netbook craze started out because the price was unreal. $299 for a laptop? When a decent laptop was more than $800, excellent. Now $395 when a decent email, surf laptop is $50-$100 more? Not so much.

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