updated 10:00 am EDT, Thu April 1, 2010
HP may quit 10in netbooks altogether
The top two US netbook builders are scaling back or even exiting 10-inch netbooks in the near future, tips from within the industry. Either is believed to have at least cut their demand in favor of larger, 11.6-inch models, while HP may be quitting 10-inch netbooks entirely in favor of larger AMD-based models. Many of the smaller companies have already backed out after having difficulty competing in price and scale.
The larger companies would themselves be getting out of 10-inch netbooks for price reasons, DigiTimes said. Profits from netbooks based on Intel's Pine Trail platform have purportedly been so low as to be unfeasible. Many of these systems cost even less than before and are often $300. Larger models would help preserve profits by using more expensive CULV or regular notebook processors in addition to other more expensive components, such as the larger LCD and hard drives.
The netbook market is expected to slow down this year and could have a ripple effect on smartbooks like the Lenovo Skylight, which follow the same concept as a netbook but with a more efficient ARM chip and a frequently web-oriented platform.
A withdrawal of the sort would play into the hands of Apple, as it should be one of the largest consumers of LCDs near the 10-inch mark with the iPad and has already positioned its tablet as an upscale alternative to a netbook. It has argued that netbooks are "just cheaper" rather than better, and the frequently cut-rate pricing is estimated to have dragged the industry down in 2009 by lowering the total revenue even as it artificially boosted notebook shipments.