Report: Intel reconsiders the appeal of netbooks

Considering the success of its Atom processor, you’d think Intel would be a little more enthusiastic about netbooks. However, CNet News reports that Intel Sales and Marketing VP Stu Pann made some puzzling comments at a recent conference in New York:

"We originally thought Netbooks would be for emerging markets and younger kids, and there is some of that. It turns out the bulk of the Netbooks sold today are Western Europe, North America, and for people who just want to grab and go with a notebook," Pann said. "We view the Netbook as mostly incremental to our total available market," he added.
And the most revealing statement? "If you’ve ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size–it’s fine for an hour. It’s not something you’re going to use day in and day out."

CNet News says this last comment partially echoes AMD’s take on the subject—AMD notebook marketing chief Bahr Mahony reportedly said earlier this month that "a fair number of people" aren’t satisfied with what they’re getting out of netbooks. AMD does plan low-power chips for ultraportables and larger netbooks, but it expressed a disinterest in compromising users’ computing experiences in order to reach smaller form factors.

Comments closed
    • WaltC
    • 12 years ago

    Companies pay their employees and pay their operating expenses out of profits, and the “netbook” markets generate very little profit in contrast with more traditional markets. It’s not surprising that many of the same people who think Vista is a “flop” might think that the “netbook” was a smash success…;) Sometimes I think that on-line product evaluations are written in terms of personal preference and desire as opposed to fact–but then, what else is new?

    • eitje
    • 12 years ago

    my girlfriend is very small, and she loves her Aspire One. It is proportionate to her in the way that a 15″ laptop is proportionate to me.

    Maybe they’re just not marketing the netbooks to the right sized people. 🙂

      • MadManOriginal
      • 12 years ago

      Midgetbooks?

    • grege
    • 12 years ago

    I have a netbook, I bought it in addition to my notebook. The netbook was never intended to be a notebook or a replacement for a full notebook. Too many salesman without a clue push on gullible people who end up disappointed.

    Foe what they are they are great, clearly Intel and AMD still don’t get it. They are high powered PDAs not low powered notebooks.

    I use mine on holidays or in the car, not at home except for reading online TV guides.

      • ludi
      • 12 years ago

      I think the sales figures suggest that these ARE being used as low-powered notebooks. That’s certainly how I use my Aspire One. WiFi is now integrated into everything, 8GB SDHC cards and USB flash drives are selling for less than $20, and low-res digital video downloads are widely available; who needs a PCMCIA slot or an optical drive on a regular basis?

    • sdack
    • 12 years ago

    They could just have said “We made a mistake”. I am really sorry for Intel that the market did not develop as they had made plans for it. I really am.

    /[<"If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size--it's fine for an hour. ..."<]/ Absolutely!! If I would be working at Intel, and I would not need to pay for any hardware because my employer beats me to death with it, then I would certainly say the same. Does this guy really work for sales and marketing? I wonder. He shows very little interest in detail in his statement. This guy is likely the reason why Intel did not see this success coming.

    • Afty
    • 12 years ago

    I think what he’s saying is that they expected netbooks to open a new market, but they are actually selling mostly to their existing market, cannibalizing sales from more expensive laptops.

      • pluscard
      • 12 years ago

      INTC did warn for the quarter, didn’t they?

        • grantmeaname
        • 12 years ago

        your point?

        Correlation _[

        • green
        • 12 years ago

        given with what happened in october, didn’t most companies?

          • pluscard
          • 12 years ago

          many did, of course.

          AMD did not.

            • green
            • 12 years ago

            true. but i’ll hold judgement til next week.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 12 years ago

    I think this is a response to the fact that just the very first laptop with one of those new “ultra value” or whatever Athlon 64s was only $300, and yet, it was a full laptop. And there are just going to be more and better ones popping up all over the place before Christmas.

    And not even considering that, I’ve seen quite a few laptops with Pentium Dual-Cores for $400 to $500 lately, and not just online where there’s pretty much always something to be found for cheap, but everywhere.

    They can’t compete with that selling often $500-600 completely stripped down computers.

    • Hattig
    • 12 years ago

    Indeed the netbook is an additional device to have for convenience alongside another computer.

    However as they get more popular, people are going to assess their other computers. Do they really need a laptop with their 8.9″ NetBook? Surely a desktop PC and a decent monitor are now reasonable options again for many people that might have switched to a laptop in the last generation for mobility reasons.

    A NetBook is perfectly adequate for on-the-go needs, it’s light and convenient, it has outputs for presentations, not expensive enough to worry about so you’ll pull it out in the pub and knock up some code or docs or whatever with your pint of beer. The CPU power isn’t an issue, but being able to play YouTube and a divx is nice to have, and that’s where we need better integrated graphics that Intel won’t give us.

    And the last thing is that these things are appliances, and people have different expectations from them. Sure, many people want their XP comfort zone, but others are quite happy with the Linux interfaces many are shipping with because they’re task based and do the tasks they want to use them for.

    Also they make great sofa systems for keeping up with IM, browsing online TV listings and casual surfing, then take it into the kitchen to follow a recipe.

    • Palek
    • 12 years ago

    Let me be the first to say it: this is a truly Stu-Pann-dous news article!

    *runs away*

    • Hance
    • 12 years ago

    I am sure intel hates the netbook market with a passion. Tiny profit margins are not something that can sustain a huge company like intel. Economy sucks so people are cutting back on spending couple that with the fact that netbooks are GOOD ENOUGH for most things and the sales of high margin parts are probably going down. Good for us but bad for intel.

      • Flying Fox
      • 12 years ago

      For once the market is sending both AMD/Intel a strong signal what people really want, instead of us just buy anything they shove down our throats? I guess this must be a very foreign concept.

        • zima
        • 12 years ago

        Now, if only Lenovo would feel the same pressure to stop lobotomising their netbook/protecting X-series Thinkpads and include Trackpoint in a netbook…

      • tigen
      • 12 years ago

      “GOOD ENOUGH for most things ”

      —> Sorry but NOPE!

        • tesla120
        • 12 years ago

        Odds are you are not an average computer user.

        he is right a netbook is good enough for most computer tasks. the majority of consumers listen to music, check emails, play solitaire, watch youtube videos and some write papers.

        just because it doesn’t have a core 2 doesn’t mean its useless. Most people still have single core processors in their computers considering multi core processors came out in july of 06 (I think) thats not that long ago.

        but please enlighten me, what is it that netbooks cant do that consumers actively task their computers with?

        • ludi
        • 12 years ago

        —> Sorry but YEP!

        Like it or not, /[

    • bowman
    • 12 years ago

    “If you’ve ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size–it’s fine for an hour. It’s not something you’re going to use day in and day out.”

    Hahaha. Let me guess, your partners are selling too few €1500 Core 2 Duo laptops..

    If you’ve ever lugged a fat brick of a fully featured 15″ laptop around the world – it’s not something you’re going to do for very long. And those so-called ‘ultraportables’ that all cost €2000? I think you know where I am about to tell you to stuff those.

      • clone
      • 12 years ago

      that’s my guess as well Netbooks are killing their margins.

      I’m also inclined to agree having gotten rid of a 12.1 ” display that you can only go so small before day in day gets almost painful on the eyes.

      fisheyes and crows feet anyone?

      give it 2 years with a netbook and you’ll see what I mean as regular users start looking like their 40 when their 30.

        • UberGerbil
        • 12 years ago

        You’re trying to tell us that Netbook use is going to cause premature aging? Please. :eyeroll:

    • Farting Bob
    • 12 years ago

    Pair it with a efficient chipset and people will be more interested. Battery life will increase significantly (especially if used with a SSD) and good times will be had by all.

      • pluscard
      • 12 years ago

      Bit of a role-reversal here for Intel.

      They just figured out selling a value-priced product will increase marketshare, but will murder the bottom line.

      Meanwhile, AMD seems to have the walmart biz locked up with notebooks in the $500-900 price range.

      Plus

        • pluscard
        • 12 years ago

        Looking at walmarts web site for systems available in store – the atom based products are $398 with XP, while the celerons start at $498 with Visa.

        I think XP is the better choice at this point.

        • Ricardo Dawkins
        • 12 years ago

        didn’t Damage ban you ? 😉

          • pluscard
          • 12 years ago

          No, he didn’t.

    • floodo1
    • 12 years ago

    I’m glad Intel and AMD are sooooo in tune with what I’m thinking….NOT.

    I don’t consider the “compromised” computing experience of a netbook (relative to a regular laptop) to be a downside at all. it’s simply the price that must be paid to achieve a form factor that I value.

    LAME

      • xand
      • 12 years ago

      Well, you don’t need a compromised experience at all if you pay lots of cold hard cash (which is what intel wants 😉 )

        • bhtooefr
        • 12 years ago

        And, to be completely honest, I’m considering replacing my ThinkPad with a Fujitsu P1630 (which weighs about the same as an Aspire One, and has a 1.4GHz 45nm Core 2 Duo and a GS45.)

        Unfortunately, configured how I want it, it’ll be $2653.95. (I’m a fan of long warranties, so…)

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