Sony UK Vaio head Nicolas Barendson has pretty much confirmed that the company won’t be releasing a netbook – or at least not a netbook that looks like all the other mini-laptops on the market today. He says all of the 7 to 10 inch notebooks available today are kind of “in-between” propositions for consumers, since they’re too large to fit in your pocket but still much smaller than full sized laptops.
That’s absolutely true. But he’s wrong in making the leap from there to the idea that consumers aren’t happy with the mini-laptops available today.
The truth of the matter is that computer makers have been trying to push mobile devices, ultraportable computers, UMPCs, and even “netbooks” for years. And while those devices always managed to find niche markets, the 7 to 10 inch netbooks running Linux and Windows XP that are flooding the market today are the first to gain truly widespread consumer support.
That’s likely due to a combination of price, portability, and usability. Because no matter how much Sony, AMD, or Apple try to tell us that today’s netbooks are only good for light web surfing, the truth is they’re powerful enough to run office software, multimedia software, and even some video games. If you’re comfortable with a 10 inch screen and a small keyboard, netbooks are already powerful enough to handle 90% of the tasks that most people will throw at them. And they’re getting more powerful.
Of course, computer makers like Sony have a vested interest in trying to segment the market into cheap, portable devices that aren’t full computers, and high end machines. Because they want to be able to sell both.
With that in mind, Barendson says that he thinks the “netbook” market will evolve to cover a wider array of devices over the next year with different form factors. For example, there could be products for “home use” and other products that are pocketable and which feature quick-boot and maybe Linux options. Perhaps a sub-netbook?
You can check out ZDNet’s complete interview with Barendson after the break.
via Eee PC News