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Posted at 10:46 AM ET, 01/18/2011

The end of netbooks? Acer phasing out netbooks with Android, Sandy Bridge tablets

By Hayley Tsukayama

Technology market analysts have been predicting the death of the netbook ever since the iPad launched in April 2010. Now, Acer has said it will push out its line of smaller computers in favor of a line of tablets.

Acer announced that it will release 7-inch and 10-inch Android tablets with Intel's latest "Sandy Bridge" chips in the first half of this year.

"They are aimed at phasing out netbooks," Taiwan sales manager Lu Bing-hsian told Computerworld. "That's the direction of the market."

Tablets are certainly the hot item in tech right now, and there are at least a couple of studies out there to show that consumers are ditching their laptops and PCs in favor of their slimmer tablet cousins. A recent study from MobileMarketingWatch found that over 90 percent of iPad users regularly use their tablets for search and e-mail, which are two of the main uses for a lightweight laptop such as a netbook.

The main drawback of a tablet, of course, is how difficult it is to type on them. Tablets are used more for consuming content than for creating it, but if they're going to replace netbooks, companies like Acer will have to get around the inherent inconvenience of typing on a tablet. While several tablets come with the option to hook up to a keyboard, and there's a roaring trade in tablet stands and cases to make them easier to work on, doesn't that defeat the purpose of having a tablet in the first place?

Weigh in: Have you ditched your netbook for a tablet? Or are you holding on to your keyboard for now?

By Hayley Tsukayama  | January 18, 2011; 10:46 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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Comments

Yup..as a recent iPad owner, my Acer Netbook is history, sold on eBay to someone else who will probably replace it with a tablet too. One thing I do miss on the iPad, and that's the camera, so Rob, I hope you're right that the 2nd Gen iPad has the cameras on it, because I will be one of the millions looking to upgrade immediately.

Posted by: Herbied13 | January 18, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

My netbook cannot be replaced by a tablet. The physical keyboard is 100% required. Also, the ability to write code on it is necessary. However, I do plan on getting an android tablet at some point for things like flights and reading. I do not see the need for a camera when I have a phone with one.

Posted by: gurrgg | January 18, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Ever since I got my first computer of my own in the early '80s I've primarily used them to create rather than to consume content (not wanting to sound overly grand about it: "create" in my case means cranking out academic prose and data analysis). The long trend toward more consumption-oriented hardware has a less-discussed set of implications: increasingly our gadgets, long pitched at us in terms of increasing our own autonomy and productivity, serve mostly to pin us down as targets for marketing, and for content devised by (and serving the interests of) others. Not that that's all bad (consider the benefits of something like Google Scholar...); still, might the desire to be cool and digitally up-to-date really be making us more passive and dependent from an intellectual standpoint?

Posted by: mjohnston1 | January 18, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

We didn't just replace a netbook, we replaced our iMac with an iPad. The iMac was primarily used by my wife for e-mail and eBay surfing and with the addition of a stand and keyboard it works pretty well. It took a while for her to get used to using her finger instead of a mouse, but after a few weeks (this was an Xmas gift) she is managing quite well. This is especially true now that she has the Kindle app.

I will probably buy the 2nd generation model so that we have a camera, but could easily see myself with another one like hers.

Posted by: AlligatorArms | January 18, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I see the netbook going away but not completely. I received an iPad in June as a gift and ignored it the first few months trying to figure out a use for it as I need my laptop for work when I travel. I recently went on vacation, taking only the iPad and loved it. The convenience of quick on/off, accessing email, internet and especially the Kindle app was fantastic. But those are mostly consuming info not creating. If I needed to do extensive typing I would have to buy a keyboard but that is not an issue. It would stay stored until I needed it (probably 80% of the time) and the rest of the time I would not bother with it. At the same time, I can't imagine doing a lot of typing on a netbook keyboard as tiny as they tend to be.

Posted by: patrickgama7 | January 19, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I see the netbook going away but not completely. I received an iPad in June as a gift and ignored it the first few months trying to figure out a use for it as I need my laptop for work when I travel. I recently went on vacation, taking only the iPad and loved it. The convenience of quick on/off, accessing email, internet and especially the Kindle app was fantastic. But those are mostly consuming info not creating. If I needed to do extensive typing I would have to buy a keyboard but that is not an issue. It would stay stored until I needed it (probably 80% of the time) and the rest of the time I would not bother with it. At the same time, I can't imagine doing a lot of typing on a netbook keyboard as tiny as they tend to be.

Posted by: patrickgama7 | January 19, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I have no plans to ditch my netbook. The keyboard is important to me as I create rather than consume. I don't close the door on future purchase of a tablet, though but it would not be an iPad.

Posted by: docchari | January 19, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I have no plans of ditching my netbook as I more or less create rather than consume. I'll probably purchase a tablet in the future but no iPad for me.

Posted by: docchari | January 19, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I have an iPad and I agree that that typing on it is a challenge. So I bought a protective cover for it (which you need to have anyway)and it has a built-in bluetooth keyboard. It works really well and I get the best of the portability along with the convenience of a tactile keyboard. You can get this from Brookstone or ThinkGeek.com. (ThingGeek is way cheaper than Brookstone, if you're interested.)

Posted by: nsoble | January 19, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Never had a netbook because I have good taste. I purchased the original MacBook Air and upgraded to the next version a year later. I bought an iPad last April.

Posted by: query0 | January 19, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I will wait for the day when either: A) Voice recognition technology is > 90% accurate in recognizing my voice, or B) Netbooks or handhelds have a holographic projection keyboard built-in to type. When you can type >90 wpm, the netbooks and handhelds do not hold a candle to a full-size keyboard. That's what I'm holding out for.

Posted by: PCStronghold | January 19, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

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