Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2012 - 06:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, acer, Intel, atom, eee pc
2012 has been a very tough year to be a manufacture of mobile products and not too easy on the designers either. We started off with the Ultraboook form factor, specifically the challenge to make parts which could allow the ultrathin design to be functional in the real world while still aiming for that $1000 price point. The prices of SSDs have come down and the processors have also marginally dropped in price but the materials required to make a sturdy chassis of exceptional thinness have not.
Then Microsoft decided to make things interesting with their Surface tablet, which is a wonderful platform to show off Windows 8 on but not the best way to maintain a relationship with mobile manufacturers. Regardless of the price that Microsoft chooses to release the Surface at, each Surface sale represents a lost sale for another mobile manufacturer. Acer, for one has had no problems voicing their complaints about a software company muscling into hardware territory.
Today we heard from DigiTimes that ASUS is dropping their Eee PC line, along with Intel's Atom processor and Acer is dropping netbooks altogether. While part of the problem with the Intel's Atom is that it has always had a hard time providing users with the computing experience they desire, dropping the entire form factor implies more problems that simply performance. Manufacturers could build netbooks with AMD's Trinity or even NVIDIA's Tegra depending on the agreements in place with Intel, however the two top tier mobile manufactures have straight out dropped the form factor, with only MSI staying in the market. While the netbook may have only been of use to a certain younger crowd with limited money and expectations there were certain Eee PC models designed for the desktop which made decent low powered internet access machines which are also going the way of the dinosaur which may be missed a little by a larger audience.
The effective death of the netbook will have an effect on manufacturers like Pegatron and some sections of Intel, the real question is whether the end user will even notice or if they were already only considering a 13" laptop or Ultrabook.
"Intel may be forced to adjust its roadmap for PC-use Atom processors as the top-2 netbook vendors – Asustek Computer and Acer – both plan to stop manufacturing related products, according to sources from notebook players.
Asustek is already set to halt its Eee PC product line and officially phase out from the IT industry after completely digesting any remaining inventory. As for Acer, so far, the company has not yet made any plans to open new netbook projects, indicating that the vendor may also plan to step out of the market."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Hackers create bogus Microsoft Services Agreement email to exploit users @ The Inquirer
- The TR Podcast 118: CPUs inside the second, and steamrolling the Forcepad
- Here we go again: Critical flaw found in just-patched Java @ The Register
- AMD Taiwan general manager Andy Tseng resigns @ DigiTimes
- TP-Link 150Mbps Wireless N Nano Router @ Rbmods
- TP-LINK N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (TL-WNDR4300) Review @ Madshrimps
- Cisco Linksys E4200 Maximum Performance Dual-Band N Router Review @ NikKTech
- Pimp My Rig Competition with PowerColor (Devil 13 HD7990 Prize) @ HardwareHeaven
- SSD Giveaway Week 1 - OCZ Vertex 4 512GB @ SSD Review
- Win A QNAP TS-219P II NAS Server @ eTeknix
ASUS remains one of the best manufacturers in the netbook category. Today, they’ve pulled the wraps off some new products that will freshen their lineup for 2012.
Introduction and Design
You don’t hear much about Atom these days. It’s still there, still kicking, still being stuffed inside an endless stream of netbooks. Yet it’s also not very exciting, and hasn’t created much buzz. This isn’t a case of a journalistic blind spot; Atom just hasn't been update. The original was released in 2008, but Intel hasn’t released a major performance upgrade since. By comparison, the performance of mainstream mobile laptop processors has, in some benchmarks, doubled over the same time-span. The processor performance of Atom, measured relative to the power of an average $600 laptop with a Core i3 dual-core, is actually becoming worse over time.
Yet Atom has still dominated the laptop market because of one reason; there was no other alternative. For the first time, however, that’s changing. AMD has released its Fusion APUs, and we recently reviewed two different laptops with two different versions of that technology – the single-core E-240 in the Toshiba Satellite C655D and the dual-core E-350 in the Sony Vaio Y.