So guys, those of you still hoping for a netbook on the cheap for you to port around, you’re left with one less manufacturer to choose from if you’re in Ameria. Toshiba, along with HP and MSI, makes undoubtably the best netbooks on the planet, with keyboards that feel and work much better than ones from competitors like Acer and Dell. Its mostly because they’re a bit bigger and that extra size works well with the love-hate chicklet design that many consumers are stuck with.
Toshiba joins the leaving bandwagon started by Dell and Lenovo, moving instead to Ultrabooks and low-cost Brazos Ultrabooks, with Trinity soon to follow. The cheaper SKUs just aren’t selling well in the U.S. and with people apparently buying up Ultrabooks left, right and center, its no longer viable to continue production.
Global netbook shipments are down 34% from 2011 and now account for just over 5% of global PC shipments. Tablets are mostly to blame here, as cheaper solutions like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Note and HTC’s Flyer have reduced the need for consumers to carry a small notebook to work with. As Amazon’s Kindle further drops in price, the original nereds that the netbook served – cheap computing, web browsing and basic word processing and video consumption fall into the hands of tablets.
For those of you still interested though (as I still am) you have Acer, HP and ASUS left to consider, as well as MSI, Sony, Samsung and MSI-rebranded Mecer and Proline products. The netbook craze might very well dwindle down completely as Trinity Ultrabooks arrive, but they will still be sold in the rest of the world. While manufacturers may not put out as many models as they had in the past, there will still be some selection, however I don’t expect much more innovation while Intel pours money into its two biggest draws – Thunderbolt and Ultrabooks.
If you’re wondering whether this affects us, well yes, it does. Looking online for a Toshiba netbooks doesn’t yield many results and Dell pulled their excellent Mini One series a long time ago. Lenovo’s Ideapad is also in low stock around the country, with the final models being available still using Intel’s old Atom N455. As more ITX motherboards are made and as AMD and Intel improve the efficiency of their chips, I even expect Atom sales for low-cost HTPCs to drop as well in favour of the more capable solutions. If you were planning on buying a nettop, now’s not the time to do it.