But Atom lives on! Death of netbook in name only
There are certainly plenty of ultra-portable laptop/tablet hybrids being planned that are based on Clover Trail, the next generation SoC Atom, that will be a lower cost lower powered (and also better battery life) alternative to the i3/i5/i7 devices. It will be interesting see if we also get Clover Trail devices that are pure laptops - anyone know?
Part of the problem is, what is the definition of a "netbook"? If we define it as a machine with Atom CPU, 1GB RAM, 1024x600, then I'm glad that spec is finally dead - but that makes no more sense than saying a tablet is a device with 512MB RAM, and saying tablets are dead. If we define it as a low cost ultra-portable, then is it still true that netbooks will disappear?
If in 2013, I can still buy a lower end portable laptop, I don't care whether it's called a netbook, ultrabook, ultra-portable or whatever else - it's still the same thing. But if lower end portable laptops no longer exist, and the only choice is tablets, much more expensive (and poorer battery life) high end ultra-portables, or the remaining stock of old netbooks, that's a bit sad.
I love my Samsung N220, and have no desire to replace it with a less functional tablet. What will the upgrade path for it be?
"Meanwhile, the original netbook concept of a compact, ultraportable PC has reemerged in the form of Ultrabooks, Intel's attempt to encourage PC makers to develop devices to compete with Apple's extra-slim MacBook Air."
Well high end ultra-portables existed long before Apple joined the market late (as always). The key new thing about netbooks was the lower cost (and better battery life). Ultrabooks were nothing to do with Apple, they were a continued trend of ultra-portables, with Intel making up a trademark for better marketing. Ultrabooks are falling in price so could well eventually fill the place of netbooks anyway.
"by 2016 virtually every notebook will resemble an Ultrabook, leaving the netbook era as little more than a quaint and whimsical memory."
Or rather, the netbook was the immensely successful revolutionary device that later evolved into the devices we'll be using in 2016. By 2016, I suspect ultrabooks will be at the same price as netbooks - the reason for calling them ultrabooks will simply be a matter of marketing ("ultrabook" is an Intel trademark; netbook is simply a generic name, and one that's now become old fashioned).
Not to mention Chromebooks, effectively netbooks too (low cost, portable, good battery life). Ironically Chromebooks used to be viewed as pointless as you could just get a netbook, but soon Chromebooks might be the only thing in that market you can buy!