Gadgets for humans

Toshiba puts the final nail in the netbook coffin, as it discontinues its range in the US


According to Liliputing, Toshiba is done with netbooks in the United States. The product variety, basement-priced micro-laptops that were exceptionally portable, sold millions of units, and helped certain brands grow in the public mind. However, the trend is over.

Yes, over. What happened? Netbooks were squeezed from two directions: functional tablets began to beat them out as knock-around devices for the house, and improvements in consumer laptop tech meant that their real purpose slowly ebbed away. Thus netbooks, an important, if brief moment in computing, have slowly come to an end.

Toshiba is hardly alone in its decision. A report on its decision on NeoWin makes the point:

[M]any other notebook makers such as Dell, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony have either officially announced they won’t be making any more netbooks or have not released any new models in some time. Asus, Acer and HP are still selling netbooks but sales of these kinds of notebooks have been falling for some time.

Indeed. Interestingly, the report in Liliputing has an idea of where Toshiba is planning to deploy its resources, stating that ultrabooks will be its focus.

If you don’t know, an ultrabook is a netbook, but better, and more expensive. Ultrabooks are thin, and generally well-featured laptops that Intel has been pushing as a way to bring Windows-based computers to some sort of hardware parity with Apple’s popular consumer devices. They have been a sort of success, but Apple’s Macbook Air remains the clear segment leader.

Rest well netbooks, we won’t forget how bad your keyboards were, or how easily you slipped into a purse.

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Published May 28, 2012 — 01:46 UTC