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back to article Lenovo chief says netbook's day is done

Lenovo has called time on the netbook, stating that the mini-laptop's life is now "pretty much over". So said the firm's President and COO, Rory Read, in an interview with Dow Jones after confirming Lenovo will release 10in Android tablets worldwide within the next few months. There'll be an IdeaPad-branded consumer model and a …

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FAIL

Idiot

People will say anything to desperately try to still fondleslabs. No it doesn't have a keyboard and I can do nothing useful with it, so no it has no place for me or anyone I know. A netbook on the other hand does.

Ahh, but then I wouldn't have bought a Lenovo anyway

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Different strokes for different folks

Never mind, Lenovo, I'll keep using my little N130 and you can play with your Android tablet to play Angry Birds. Just don't ask me to use a tablet to type an essay/blog/email on

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The future will kill the tablet too.

You will end up with a PC and a smart phone. Tablets are just too large to be convenient to carry and anything they can do can be done (albeit on a smaller scale) on a smart phone.

The "look how cool I am sliding fingers on my tablet" look will fade like the hula hoop.

Of course, a 3D projection hologram screen in mid-air will LET you use a smart phone like a tablet, but we are not there yet.

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Work

Right now I'm sitting in a room with one other person. We are working, independently, on the same exercise. I'm clattering away on my Thinkpad X60 (not the tablet version, also a mere 115 notes from fleabay), she is prodding her ipad letter by letter. Also I can crunch some numbers with Matlab and R when I need to.

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Linux

Nail on the head

I've owned an Eee 701SD for nearly two years (picked it up for barely over £100), and I'd still rather have it over almost any tablet I've ever tried. I don't have a problem with tablets per se, but I run an Ubuntu derivative on my 701, and I do like having access to the apps I'm used to from desktop Ubuntu, at least some of which may not have Android equivalents yet.

Not that I'd turn down a Galaxy Tab or Xoom if someone just donated one to me out of the blue, but I think my Eee will have to turn up its proverbial toes before I even think about replacing it (with a tablet, netbook, smartphone or whatever). Each to their own, though.

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Silver badge

Ah yes..!

Personally I've always thought looking for business-class laptops on ebay was almost always better than buying any new, underpowered hunk of shite.

(Has a Latitude D800 and Latitude D610)

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Bronze badge
Pint

Netbooks

Not enough profit for the manufacturers. Tablets at current prices seem to be more lucrative for them. I do think tablets will stay in the market but not the large 10" slabs but more the 7" and 5" pocketable ones, multifunction ereader/email/casual browsing. The netbook niche will not be filled by the slabs. Pint is the perfect accompaniment to some browsing in the pub.

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Silver badge
Thumb Up

Very much agree.

Something small enough to hold comfortably and fit in my purse, but big enough to do some real reading on. 7" is a very good size.

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Bronze badge

People still like real keyboards

But my hands hurt like hell when I use one. Touchscreen and a program called Fitaly (Windows yes, Android no) is my answer.

Speech recognition will come. Maybe with lip reading. Actually, speech recognition is here, only no one uses it: Nuance sells a program for Android. It costs more than one Starbucks coffee but it's affordable.

Foldable display is very close; your near-future tablet computer phone will close like a book.

I would just like to have Fitaly for Android, though.

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decay curve

The main thing killing netbooks is that notebooks now cost the same price....

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Niche Markets

I read somewhere (here I think) that airline pilots were starting to use iPads to lighten the load of paperwork they had to lug around. I heard also, from someone who flies biplanes for fun, that Jeppesons flight charts are now certified to be used for flight-planning on iPads.

Shortly after the iPad came out - there were rumours that it could be used as an under-camera-lens teleprompter with a bit of jiggerey-pokery. This year I've seen kit availabe that does away with the J-P.

One of my clients is a very successful radio & TV producer. She was telling me (and I know from experience) that the biggest problem in radio drama is page turning - some actors can do it almost silently and some can't. At a recent recording one of the actors (a famous name) turned up with his script on an iPad. The following day so did another. No noisy page turns for them.

As yet I haven't come up with a niche of my own so I haven't bought an iPad - but then I was never enticed into buying a netbook either.

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Make it so

Trouble is, people like this have the power to make their prognostications happen. If they say there aren't going to be any netbooks, then there won't be any netboooks (excpet for a diminishing market of old ones).

I don't think the computer sellers were ever that keen on simple cheap computers - not enough profit in them.

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Linux

You mean rather like the pronouncements that no-one wanted Linux netbooks, on the basis that none were selling, mainly because the manufacturers had already licked Redmond's backside and withdrawn anything without Windows from the shelves? Self-fulfilling prophecy, in other words.

Tablets seem fun for playing HarbourMaster and other pointy-clicky things, but simply do not compete with a real laptop - as netbooks are, despite the manufacturers frantically trying to persuade us otherwise a couple of years ago, when they realised the penny had dropped, and the bottom was for a short time blown out of the full-size laptop market. The eventual response of course was as above, re the "simple cheap computers - not enough profit in them".

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Go

I have been unexpectedly won over.

I have had several netbooks since the EEE 701 and found I didn't really do much content creation, it was essentially consumption. So for me, a tablet (I now have an iPad, having tried a 7inch Android one) works well, combined with a desktop for serious work.

I am finding the tablet is being used much more than my netbook ever was:

For work, giving presentations, note taking, and saving on printing out papers. I was at a meeting a couple of days ago which included nearly 1000 pieces of printed paper. Admittedly I do sometimes feel a bit of a prat when I whip my tablet out.

After work, my 3 year old uses it for educational games and bedtime reading. This is when touch is particularly useful.

Then my wife might use it for a bit of web browsing and on-line shopping or banking.

When its not being used by one of us it acts as a photo frame with much better viewing angles than a dedicated frame I had been using.

We also use it as a headrest movie player on long car trips.

Finally it's used for Skype calls to relatives around he world.

Whilst most of this could be achieved with a netbook, the point is it wasn't. So pound for pound it's probably a better investment than my netbook.

P.S. I do however miss faffing around with yet another Linux distribution on my netbook from time to time.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Good point.

The tablet is very much a 'content consumption' device, ill-suited for 'content creation'. Fits well with how the media industries like us to behave, certainly.

(No slight against OP intended there - it is a general observation)

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Depends on the content you're creating, though...

While I'd broadly agree with you at the moment, touch screen devices are beginning to be used for some kinds of content creation. Anything requiring heavy-duty typing may not be suitable, but some other media fit quite nicely with touch screens.

So there are increasing numbers of programs such as NanoStudio, FourTrack and MultiTrack DAW for audio/music production (not to mention GarageBand for the iPad), plus video and photo editing apps such as iMovie and PhotoForge. I'm sure there must be Android apps for doing similar things.

Things aren't currently quite as slick as using a desktop computer or notebook/netbook for some tasks, but over the last couple of years there's been a *lot* of development and things have come a long way already.

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Silver badge

Consumers outnumber producers

You only need a keyboard if you are generating content not consuming it.

Tablets will outsell portable-machines-with-keyboards by about the same ratio that TVs outsell TV camera, or books outsell copies of word.

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Anonymous Coward

I guess it comes down to...

... the ability to touch type.

I find I'm more productive with my < £200 netbook, than I am with my >£400 ipad. I can type and type on the netbook. The ipad, I have to be looking at my fingers.

But on the other hand, I take my Ipad to bed to watch films and read.

So netbook for work, and Ipad for pleasure about sums it up.

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Linux

Piles of PCs

PC world currently seems to have loads of netbooks as end of line sales.

Not surprising the makers prefer tablets when they sell for twice as much considering the cost must be vsimilar.

So my advice if you want to do real work on a smaller device is go get an netbook now before they disappear! Pref also install Linux Mint on it as well so you can forget about processor sapping antivirus! (among other reasons)

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It took a long time for punch cards to disappear ...

Form factors don't usually disappear. They may grow/shrink a bit as technology changes (screens from 640x480 to 1920x1080) but disappear not.

We still have desktops, we still have laptops and we will still have netbooks and fondleslabs. The relative popularity will always shift around but it is likely there will still be enough demand to fund an even wider range of kit.

When slabs are £100/£120 I'll have one. And if netbooks can still be got at that price I'll have one too. What I choose to take on a particular train or weekend will just depend what I intend to do. Its just the fileserver I plug 'em into that I worry about.

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Happy

Could be interesting

I've kept away from the oversized touchphones for now. But a ThinkPad tablet MIGHT catch my interest, if it had the "thinkpad" quality (i.e. mostly bulletproof). But for now, I'll stick to my e-ink bookreader, 15" 1920x1200 laptop, and HTC WinMo 6.5 phone.

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Happy

Horses for courses

You try banging out a monster hacking session on a *nix DB server on your fondleslab. How about standing in the DR centre trying to get some kit tested or installed?

I am sure they are perfect for lounging on the sofa or even long journeys by train, bus or plane, even coming into their own. My Missus has one and thinks it's great for casual stuff, but even a non-techie like her prefers a solid keyboard for serious work.

The number of people I see desperate to prove themselves by balancing a 10" tablet in their arms while crammed on the 17:25 out of Clapham, always raises a smile! My naff little 3G iPhone might be long in the tooth, but it works fine for vids and as it's "jailborked" it's perfect as a Wifi modem for my very old laptop when I am stuck in aforementioned data centres.

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Lappads

I'd not buy a pad simply because I couldn't justify the niche usage. However, I'm rather drooling at the new Asus eee pad with keboard (a category I've decided to call lappads). This would basically give me another laptop to replace my aging one, whilst letting me detach the screen to use as a pad for those few times that I'd do that.

Lappads. The future. IMHO. ;)

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Silver badge

@ Long Fei - I agree.

There seems to be a false distinction in the market. Something that works as both a tablet and a "proper" machine seems so logical to me that I don't understand why the market isn't seeing lots of them.

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Holmes

And only yesterday Acer said exactly the opposite

Acer slashes tablet forecast, banks on notebooks

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/15/acer_cuts_tablet_forecasts/

(Hey! Where's the badgers icon gone???)

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Anonymous Coward

Does it work?

You state as a truth what behaviour you want consumers to display, and it becomes de facto correct because consumers are stupid enough to fall for it? I wouldn't mind doing this kind of job, heck, I'd do it for half his wages.

Where's the "talk to the hand" icon anyway?

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