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Windows 8 and the Future of Netbooks

Netbooks have long been an impulse buy. Heck, a new one is less than $250. I can barely buy my boys a sushi dinner for that amount.

So far I've resisted the impulse. The keyboards are too small and most of the people I ask say they are flakier than a week-old croissant. And that low price is a tease. If you want to keep them from freezing you need more than the standard 1 GB of RAM.

Part of me was hoping for a fire sale on these puppies when Windows 8 shipped, but that was probably just a pipe dream. I'd sure scoop one for $100 though at this point I have no clue what I'd actually do with it.

The iPad pretty much killed netbooks. Now Windows 8 tablets may be the final bullet. Or will they? There is no certainty that Win 8 will succeed (or at least succeed quickly). Win 8 tablets, I doubt, will come close to less than $250. We may look at the new world of Win 8 tablets and their cost and fall back in love with netbooks.

And what could OEMs do with Win 8 and this form factor? You have a real keyboard and let's say you add touch to the display? Could that be a winner and could the price indeed by less than $250. Hmmm...

Will netbooks go the way of the dodo or can Win 8 breathe new life into them? You tell me at


Posted by Doug Barney on 12/06/2012 at 1:19 PM

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Reader Comments:

Fri, Dec 7, 2012 Cody

I'm confused. From what you see in stores and on tv, "ultrabooks" are the new netbooks, and most of the newest ultrabooks have a touchscreen along with a keyboard. They're both tablets and laptops. So, I feel like your article is a bit behind the times on this one. Write another when a comprehensive look has been taken at the products on the market.

Thu, Dec 6, 2012 Bob

Doug, netbooks were a great idea that were hampered from succeeding from the very beginning. Due to the crazy licensing restrictions, manufacturers could not sell a "tricked out" netbook with sufficient RAM. The result is flaky performance and a bad reputation. Personally, I'd rather have a full-blown computer in a small form factor at a great price. No, it won't take the place of a "real" laptop, but I'd rather have an instant-on, capable netbook than an overpriced tablet anyday.

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