Reality Check: Netbooks Aren’t Dead, They’re Even Getting Better


Many people think netbooks as a category are dead, as they’re going to get subsumed by tablets. But we should remember that the laws of technology apply to netbooks as well: like all other computers, they’re getting better and cheaper by the day.

That’s the point Engadget is making, unhelpfully calling the new, better breed of netbooks “notbooks”, as in “not netbooks”, even though they’re netbooks, but better. But the point remains: these days, you can spend between $300 and $500 for a computer that will do most of what a laptop does, but will still be cheaper, smaller and more portable.

For many people who work on the go and do a lot of typing/spreadsheet work, that’s actually a more attractive proposition than an iPad or some other tablet. (We love our iPad, but honestly can’t imagine doing serious work with it, except maybe taking notes.)

So the netbook category will continue to exist for a while, as netbooks stay cheaper than tablets and keep getting better. Of course, the same laws of technology and economics that mean netbooks keep getting better and cheaper also apply to tablets: one day, we’ll have iPads that have twice the everything of today’s and cost $200. Then there won’t be much of a reason to buy a netbook.

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