DigiTimes is reporting that due to a strong and continued demand for Tablet PCs and Tablets (notably Apple’s iPad), that name brand vendors/manufacturers in Taiwan are dropping prices on their netbooks.
Asustek is mentioned as dropping the price of new Intel Atom N450-based single-core Eee PCs to under $300 USD, and new Intel Atom N550-based dual-core Eee PCs to right around $400 USD. The article mentions that Asustek was playing up its specifications of its netbooks as well as new netbook designs to bring in consumers.
Other vendors mentioned are Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and Micro-Star International (MSI). The article goes on to discuss that current demand for netbooks has dropped, with a potential impact of smartphones occurring as well. Their sources believe Asustek and Acer will continue to push netbooks while some vendors such as MSI may exit the netbook market.
My view is that there is a saturation of sorts – many people are on their second generation of netbooks, and those who have moved up to dual-core netbooks are definitely not going to have a need to upgrade anytime soon. I think a need for netbooks will continue to exist for the long term – many will not sacrifice a physical keyboard or a high-resolution screen. What I wonder is whether or not the netbooks and the ultraportables running faster CPUs (Intel’s Core Ultra Low Voltage as an example) will eventually merge. There might reach a point where the costs favor sticking a Core ULV CPU in netbook-style laptops rather than Intel continuing with the Atom line. Then again, the Atoms could find themselves in thin tablets running Windows 7.