Tablet Takeover: Are Netbooks Officially Dead?

Posted by Bhavesh Joshi On Tuesday, May 14, 2013 0 comments
Tablet Takeover: Are Netbooks Officially Dead?

Everyone knows that mobile traffic has been increasing exponentially over the past 5 years. Everybody also knows that smartphones are an essential part of the human body next to eyes, ears, nose and mouth! What’s quite a bit more fascinating than the mobile trend in general, or smartphone technology, is the increasing popularity of mobile platform tablets – and what that’s done to the evolution of the laptop computer industry. PC tower / desk computers don’t find themselves altered much by the tablet – they have their place in the business world, and other stationary non portable situations. Even larger laptop computers haven’t really been affected by the rise of tablets, as they remain relatively portable, yet retain the value of a full keyboard, and standard non-mobile operating system. So what, if any, electronics niche has felt the wrath the growing number of tablets being produced? The answer is Netbooks. Netbooks enjoyed a relatively short heyday, answering the need for small ultra portable computing for users who didn’t mind giving up some features for that compatibility. From their debut in 2007, until about a year or two ago, netbooks enjoyed a healthy dominance of this market. But now, the tablet has changed all that forever…

Why Tablets

Tablets have benefitted from a few basic preference indicators since the iPad’s debut:

1.      Sexiness

Slim Look of Tablet PC
It’s pretty arguable that within the space of small sized portable computing devices, one of the main reasons consumers prefer tablets is their sexy look. The marketing campaigns that surrounded these products (foremost, Apple’s iPad advertisements) did a fantastic job showing the casual upper-class look of a table as it sat on a businesswoman’s lap on an airplane – or was stowed quickly into a wealthy college students European carryall. This is the arguably nonsensical appeal of any fad product (or any Apple product) that is desired purely because it presents the owner as trendy and in style. There’s certainly no contest between the sexiness of a tablet like the iPad compared with something like an Acer netbook.

2.     Mobile Platform

Tablet PC in Mobile Platform
While it’s easy for any computer user to actually identify the lessened features of the mobile platform when compared against a standard OS like Windows or Mac – many of us still find ourselves actually preferring the offerings of the mobile platform. Instead of “program” that need multi step installations processes, and live within exponential folders; the modern user prefers the applications or “apps” that effortlessly launch into a program at the touch of the screen – without any mousing around or real focus at all. Once users have their favorite apps added to the device desktop – they rarely have think at all about the programs, OS or machine at all. Even though a netbook is about the same size as a tablet, this is a clear advantage.

3.     Solid State Drive

Solid State Drive of Tablet PC
Another huge advantage of tablets over netbooks is the solid state hard drives (or SSD’s) that most tablets contain. Truly the majority, if not all tablets, contain SSD’s – when conversely, the vast majority of netbooks have a traditional hard drive with a moving disk containing all data. The advantages of SSD’s are huge – they don’t overheat, they rarely crash and cause you to lose your data – but the best part is, you don’t have to wait for them to boot up. In our modern world of “now, now, now!” booting is one of the most annoying little pieces of time you’ll ever wait through! It’s like brushing your teeth, or waiting for microwave popcorn. Netbooks are just as susceptible to booting time as any PC, whereas you never even have to fully “turn off” a tablet – ever. Not only is SSD / zero boot time just a nice feature anywhere (you can get it on some PCs as well); it fits particularly well with the casual nature of the tablet. If you’re at your desk, you’re ready to “boot up” and strap in for some computing. With a tablet, you’ve just hit the couch… probably already instantly popped on the TV – and now you expect the tablet to do the same thing.

So Why Do Netbooks Still Exist?

Why Do Netbooks Still Exist?
While netbooks could disappear entirely in the near future, as their market share rapidly declines – there are still some reasons that companies like Acer and Sony are still building these little baby computers. First of all, you can get a Netbook for under $200 on sale. This is a machine that you can hook up to a monitor, keyboard, printer, mouse, and any other USB devices. In the end, you essentially have a working PC for under $200 (albeit a slow one without much RAM.) Tablets on the other hand typically have no USB ports at all. Some of the more expensive ones can hook up to SOME monitors via micro HDMI outs, which often need an adapter anyhow. Keyboards are only on bluetooth at this point… and again, only the more expensive ($400+ range) even offer this option. Tablets simply aren’t even trying to sub in as computers, whereas netbooks are computers.

What Do You Say?

So what do you prefer – netbooks or tablets? While we can already predict the statistical answer to this question, it might get you thinking. Have you ever owned a netbook? Did you ever think “this netbook is the solution to all my ultra-portable computing needs?” Let us die hard cheapskates rejoice in our nostalgia:”Long live the netbook! We were never sexy anyhow…” 


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