Dell has officially exited the netbook game, choosing to instead focus on building UltraBooks. As of this morning, the company has expunged most signs of its 10-inch netbooks from its online store, listing its 11-inch Alienware M11X as the smallest notebook available. Dell marketing director Alison Gardner confirmed the company's stance on netbooks in an interview with The Verge, saying,"Thin and powerful is where it is at for us."
Just two years ago, netbooks were supposed to be the next big thing in computing. Small, affordable notebooks that allowed users to access the web and perform some basic computing tasks on the go. But the rise of tablets, which are infinitely more portable, and the recent introduction of Intel's UltraBook form-factor has resulted in a drop in netbook sales here in the U.S.
But just because Dell is leaving netbooks in the dust, doesn't mean that the form-factor is completely dead. Both ASUS and Acer, offer a wide variety of netbooks via their Eee PC and Aspire One lines. And while netbooks sales may have fallen off a cliff in the U.S., consumers in Asian countries are still snatching them up in large numbers.
Stephen Baker Vice President of Industry Analysis with the NPD Group, told us that he believes Dell's move speaks more about the company itself than the form-factor. "I don’t believe netbooks are finished," he said. "In this case, I believe Dell is looking to consolidate its consumer form factors around products it can do well and more uniquely than other brands.
"Especially given there is little crossover for netbooks from consumer to enterprise and Dell’s higher focus level on enterprise, this type of product is the type that they may not necessarily feel is needed for them," he added.