ASUS kills the Eee PC and shrinks the Atom market

Subject: General Tech | September 4, 2012 - 02:43 PM |
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.


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"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."

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Source: DigiTimes

September 4, 2012 | 06:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

the EE sucked

October 21, 2012 | 12:24 PM - Posted by MHPathfinder (not verified)

"The EEE sucked"

It depends upon one's needs, and I can surely appreciate the diminishing returns of a netbook in the same market with tablets, smart phones, ultrabooks and other devices.

That being said, a 2-pound, extremely portable netbook, with all of the functional essentials of a full-sized laptop, able to run all of a user's existing programs on either a Windows or LINUX platform, AND a battery life of 6-8 hours, is a most utile tool for my electronics/computer consult/techsupport business. And I picked up two units for less than $200 each, refurbished, on EBay.

Lacking in comparable speed to full-sized laptops, ultrabooks and tablets, even "smart" phones? Yes, to be sure. But laptops and ultrabooks are either too large or too fragile for my everyday professional use. The little Acer and Asus netbooks are sturdy for their small size and fit into my toolbag easily. This past year netbooks gained a smidgeon of performance and speed with the inclusion of dual-core processors from Intel and AMD in many units. Not enough extra performance and speed to prevent their ultimate demise in the computer market, but enough for me to be adequately satisfied with the two units I bought, which are for, admittedly, limited use.

There are niches for netbook use, but an EEE PC surely will not keep pace with an iPad or other less-expensive tablets, ultrabooks and smart phones for all of the other features and performance elements they offer. Evidently, such niches are few and far between among the consumers of computer products in this ever-advancing techological realm. There will a time in the near future when I will consider a better-performing device for my professional work...when the prices drop. I wisely stay far enough behind the cutting edges of technology to wait for those price drops, and to see if such devices are as good as advertised before they hit the user markets.

The EEE PC was a step, an evolutionary development, on the growing, expanding tree of automated devices in the Cyberian age, now facing the eventual fate of all evolving species--extinction.



September 4, 2012 | 06:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Though can we say that netbooks paved the way for ultrabooks?
The first mass adoption of full function, low(er) performance, very small form factor and "all day" endurance computers, keyword full function, not to mention the ditching of the optical drive?

September 4, 2012 | 10:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


and what the heck.. how come the forum isn't tied into the comments... i have to create 2 user names? agh!

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