by Anton Shilov
11/25/2011 | 12:42 PM
Samsung Electronics, one of the world's largest consumer electronics and semiconductor conglomerate, plans to discontinue its netbook computers in favour of ultra-portable notebooks, tablets as well as ultrabooks.
Samsung, presumably earlier this week, sent an email to one of its partners notifying that already in the first quarter of next year it would discontinue its 10.1" netbook range and instead will offer more powerful 11.6" and 12" ultraportable laptops as well as ultrabooks later in 2012. While the move does not directly claim that Samsung shuts down its ultra low-cost personal computer (ULCPC) business, it is clear that the devices with 10.1" screens should be tablets.
"Following the introduction of our new strategy in 2012, we stop the production of the 10.1" range (netbooks) in Q1 2012 in favour of ultraportable products (11.6" and 12") and ultrabooks to be launched in 2012," the alleged Samsung e-mail, which was published by Blogeee web-site, reads.
While netbooks - personal computers in clamshell form-factor with 7" - 10" screens and very low-cost microprocessor - have been positioned to be a line of inexpensive ultra-portable PCs, in reality those systems were never used as traditional PCs. Netbooks turned out to be too slow for more or less demanding productivity applications and thus were turned down by professionals or multimedia-interested end-users. Therefore, people used those devices for basic Internet browsing, communications and other very simple tasks. When media tablets, such as Apple iPad, started to show up on the market offering similar functionality amid better interface and portability, netbooks' popularity quickly decreased.
At present Samsung can offer basic computing functionality with its Galaxy Tab slates, which use components produced by the company itself and thus brings a lot more profits to the conglomerate than Intel Atom-powered netbooks. Not surprising that Samsung wants to discontinue netbooks and concentrate on tablets and ultra-portable notebooks.
With the improvements of tablets as well as expanding families of ultra-portable notebooks, there market of netbooks will inevitably shrink. They will continue to exist on some markets and at some price-points, but essentially the era of mass netbooks as we know them is over.
Samsung did not comment on the news-story.