Dell’s getting out of the netbook business, and plans to focus on ultrabooks instead, which leaves us asking, “What the heck’s the difference?”
Netbooks came into being in 2007 as a more portable, but less powerful computing option than laptops. But in the fourth quarter of 2011, 13.6 million tablets are expected to ship, compared with 7.3 million netbooks. Meanwhile, ultrabooks are slightly larger than a netbook, with all the oomph and features of a laptop. They keep the familiar clamshell design. Ultrabooks are expected to make up 40 percent of all notebooks by 2015, according to market intelligence firm IHS iSuppli.
Dell has removed all mentions of the 10-inch Inspiron Mini 1018 or the Mini 1012 netbook from its website, though it still has limited quantities of the 11.6-inch Inspiron 11z. Dell is expected to unveil its first ultrabooks in the first quarter of 2012, possibly at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
Netbooks have been focused on the consumer market, though businesses have quickly become enamored with tablets. So naturally, ultrabook makers are quickly looking to the enterprise market as well. HP already has unveiled a 13.3-inch model aimed at business users.