Toshiba Pulls the Plug on Netbooks in the U.S.

Toshiba Abandons Netbook Product Line

by Anton Shilov
05/25/2012 | 01:09 PM

Toshiba Corp. has confirmed that it would no longer sell netbooks in the U.S. The company will offer customers inexpensive notebooks and ultra-slim notebooks/ultrabooks to those, who demand low cost or high portability. Although the firm will continue to offer netbooks in some other regions, it is clear that the days of netbooks in general are counted.


Citing slow sales of ultra low-cost mobile personal computers in the country, an executive for Toshiba America confirmed the company's plan to abandon the netbook business in the U.S. in an interview with Liliputing web-site. Older netbooks may still be available, but only while the stock lasts. For those, who want extreme portability, Toshiba will concentrate on offering ultrabooks such as the Toshiba Portege Z830 which come in a similar thin and light form-factor, but much better performance than any netbook.

Toshiba is not alone with its intention to drop netbook business. Dell, Lenovo Group, Samsung and Sony have, apparently, also abandoned their netbooks in many regions. In fact, only Acer Group, Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard continue to sell netbooks in mass quantities.

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.

In fact, with the advancements of ultra-thin notebooks and ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, netbooks rather interfere produce lineups than make them more complete.

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.