With 2012 behind us we will also see the end of the netbook line of portable computers. Once considered the future, the netbook was kicked out of the race by mobile touch screen devices such as the iPad.

Stowed away between a bona fide laptop PC and perhaps an Internet ready Smartphone was the netbook.  Often only equipped with the most basic functions and running on a simple Intel Atom processor, the netbook was supposedly the future of portable computing.  Needless to say, that wasn’t the case and 2013 will mark the end of the run of the little laptop Jr. 

In 2012, Acer and Asustek were the last manufacturers still making the netbook style of computers.  And while the netbook has fallen out of favor in the west, Asus and Asutek will still market the underpowered wonders to the Asian market – how long is anyone’s guess.

Introduced in 2007, the netbook was supposedly the answer to those who only used their computers for social media, Internet surfing and Internet shopping.  However, the netbook still offered operating systems like Windows and the standard programs that came with them.  The netbook was a lot smaller than a traditional laptop, much lighter in weight, and you could stow it away in most handbags.  Its longer lasting power was due to its smaller processor and smaller display, which usually was 10” or less. There are many factors involved with the death of the short-lived netbook, but nothing killed it more than the advent of mobile touch screen devices like the iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad and other tablet devices.  

In late 2007 Apple released the iPod Touch and iPhone.  These devices were fun, extremely easy to use and are often incorporated as useful tools in our daily lives.   These touch devices lead to the development of larger touch screen tablets such as the iPad and tablets from Samsung and others. The tablet industry opened up the world to literally hundreds of thousands of apps for anything imaginable, and this industry has given us things we never could have imagined a mere 7 years ago. While the netbook may have given us the smaller and lighter laptop, along with the ability to run office programs, the facts is that it just couldn’t keep pace with the unlimited usability and fun offered in a mobile touchscreen device.

The slide towards higher tablet sales began in 2011 when tablets outsold netbooks for the first time.  In 2012 sales for all netbooks fell by over a 25 percent as compared to 2011.  By May of 2012 both Dell and Toshiba would be out of the netbook market, and in September of last year Acer, Asus and MSI all announced they would cease production of all 10” models

With Acer and Asustek left as the last manufacturers producing the netbook, it was only a matter of time before they would cease production aimed at the US market.  The netbook has fallen out of favor in the western markets, and it is only a matter of time that Asian markets follow.  Not many years from now we may hear someone mention the little netbook and perhaps smile, and think about how we actually thought it was the future for mobile computing.