You could argue that the end of the netbook
has already happened. Despite a flurry of small, cheap, and generally sluggish notebook computers shipping between 2008 and 2010, very few companies have kept the ball rolling in 2011 and 2012. In fact, these things used to be so popular that U.S. wireless carriers were offering them in subsidized form, but now, you'll be hard pressed to find them on shelves anywhere. As tablets have rolled in and consumer expectations of speed, portability and battery life have changed, netbooks have been pushed aside.
Now, according to a DigiTimes report, Asus
' recent intentions to end its EeePC line could mark the beginning of the true end to the netbook. Asus has "no plans" to produce any more EeePC netbooks, which is a huge blow to the netbook sector given that it once had over 20 variations available. As of now, only Asus and Acer are giving any attention at all to the netbook space, but most of those units of late have been shipping to emerging markets like South America and Southeast Asia.
Interestingly, it doesn't seem as if Intel is going to cut back too sharply on Atom CPU production, as it is hoping to find embedded applications -- and perhaps even set-top boxes
-- to fill that demand / supply balance. We aren't hearing any official word from netbook makers on plans to official cease production globally, but at least in the U.S. market, you can rest assured that 2013 will likely be a year devoid of these miniature laptops.