I recently have been asking myself and our community a very similar question, that you can read more about in this post: Will Netbooks join UMPCs and MIDs in the technology graveyard?
Ironically when I viewed Don Clark’s blog, right next to the article was an advertisement that contained a picture of the iPad. The juxtaposition of the article headline raising questions about the future of Netbooks against the visual backdrop of a break-through tablet device struck me as funny.
Sure there is still some desire in the market for even lower cost basic netbook devices. By breaking a $200 barrier these new devices could reach emerging markets, support education initiatives and could really help to drive netbook volumes.
But as an avid consumer of technology, I generally hold the view that consumers want more than a cut-down PC. They need devices with better battery life and more connectivity and they want devices that support HD content and cool applications in a sleek form-factor. I would say that generally most Intel-based netbooks have missed the mark.
The ARM-based processors that our customers are producing will bring these new features to light in a number of new “smarter” netbooks and “connected” smartbooks. I also expect that more than a few of these platforms will break the $200 barrier without compromising things like battery life and form factor. The end result will be market growth through ARM-based netbooks and smartbooks.
But with tablets entering the market, will the game change?
In the ARM world we began to see a huge surge of interest in pursuing tablet designs immediately following the success of the iPhone and iPod touch devices. Then when the Android code base launched then a new world of developers had access to an open platform that could be easily adapted to netbooks and was even better suited for tablet-style devices. The industry was already moving forward but had reservations that consumers would not embrace a tablet-style device.
Enter the Apple iPad device – agent of change.
I was able to try out the iPad within days of the launch, thanks to my office mate who hit the lines early on launch day. Once it was in my hands, I instantly sat back and put my feet up and had a very big grin. I could feel the difference immediately as I surfed the web, tried new applications and enjoyed the immersive experience of the iPad.
I have long used my mobile device (actually I have two) for most of my web surfing and email and I already love reading my favorite magazines and newspapers online. So I wasn’t sure that I needed something new. I was wrong.
The multi-touch navigation brought the pages and content to life. If felt like a game where I could treasure hunt for information, finding and experiencing content in every corner of my favorite applications. I was hooked. This device did not just raise the bar for netbooks, it changed the rules. My typical PC/Netbook experience now seems flat.
So what about the future of Netbooks? Consumers are as diverse as the devices they choose, and there is a lot of room for lower-cost netbooks, connected smartbooks, new tablets and a host of smart devices. For me however, I am now fully with the tablet revolution. Luckily this revolution has just begun and I hope it has a very long ride.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please add your comments or drop us an email at Tell.Us@arm.com
Kerry McGuire, Director of Strategic Marketing, ARM, Growing up in a tiny little technology town and then moving to Austin to work in the mobile industry has led to a lifetime of being a technology groupie. Fascinated by the changing technical industry and the impact of technology on society trends, she enjoys watching the industry evolve by working with the best of ARM’s partners.
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