Remember that time when smartphones just weren’t big enough and laptops just weren’t small enough and tablets just weren’t there enough? That’s a space where companies like Asus and Acer provided tons of really small laptops, a kind of computer that no doubt inspired the Chromebook, without the guts needed to push HD video, but more than enough to be productive writing and doing some light web surfing. Netbooks thrived in this space where the iPad didn’t exist until, obviously, the iPad came to form and people realized these little Windows-powered devices just weren’t scratching that itch anymore.
Of course, we’re now reaching a point where Netbooks just aren’t going to exist at all. iSuppli says this thing only has about two years left before manufacturers are going to stop making them altogether, presumably to make under-performing Android tablets.
But is there still some kind of niche for the netbook? I’ve argued against small laptops before, but I can say that there’s something valuable about having a notebook that isn’t as big as a standard notebook. There’s also something about having a tablet-sized screen (or maybe slightly bigger) that isn’t held in place by a pricey accessory. I wrote most of my book on a Chromebook and having a machine almost as light as air that let me do virtually anything was pretty exciting.
Oh well. Looks like this portion of the gradient just isn’t gonna work out for anyone.