If you blinked you probably would have missed it… but at CES this year Lenovo quietly introduced a few new members of its low-cost S series of netbooks and portable notebooks. They kind of got lost in the shuffle of tablets, ultrabooks, and other devices Lenovo was showing off… and it looks like the Lenovo IdeaPad S110, S200, and S206 might never really get much time to shine.

Lenovo IdeaPad S100

The folks at Computer World noticed that Lenovo’s website says all of its S series laptops are out of stock. They reached out to the company and found out that Lenovo won’t be replacing the netbooks right away.

It’s also not clear whether the company will continue to push the line of mini-laptops in retail outlets.

It’s possible that the Lenovo spokesperson simply meant that all of the company’s older S series netbooks were sold out and the new models introduced at CES aren’t ready to roll yet.

But netbook sales are declining across the board. Dell has already discontinued its netbook line entirely, and Intel, which makes most of the chips used in netbooks, says that Atom-powered netbook shipments were lower in 2011 than 2010.

With the average price of a 10 inch netbook now starting at around $300, there’s not much profit in these devices, and rising demand for tablets and fuller-featured laptops has started to push them to the margins.

It’s a shame that we’re not seeing more 10 inch laptops with powerful but energy efficient processors and premium features including high resolution displays. But it seems like PC makers have decided that while 10 inch screens are great for tablets, most notebooks should have 11.6 inch or larger displays.

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15 replies on “Lenovo website runs out of netbooks for now… maybe forever?”

  1. I love netbooks because of the form factor. But we all know that they are dying to tablets. I have even caught myself saying, “I wish I would have bought a tablet.”

    Tablets have their advantages over netbooks however, I love having a keyboard and the security that comes with a true Linux distribution like Linux Mint.

    I also don’t believe that tablets are not mature enough for me. Maybe when the iPad 3 comes out I’ll pick one up.

    1.  I would disagree that netbooks are dying to tablets.  The usage scenarios for both are different enough to prevent too much overlap and owning a tablet doesn’t mean people don’t also own other devices. 

      So rather netbooks are suffering from the lack of innovation and market saturation.

      Like for example, most people who already use a netbook aren’t highly motivated to get new models until the old one breaks first.

      The lack of innovations and improvements in the netbook market is stagnating it.  While both Intel and MS would rather push products besides netbooks because they make less profits with netbooks.  So without the consumer push for netbooks then they are more than happy to start phasing them out.

      However, Intel also wants to push into the mobile market and the side effect can be the revitalization of the netbook market once the 22nm Silvermont comes out and provides the first real major advancement to the ATOM since it was first released.

      Mind that Intel will be increasingly competing with ARM as this happens, especially with ARM getting ready to push into the laptop market, but ARM usually has the cost advantage.  So it will take the lower profit business model of netbooks for Intel to really compete.

    2. I don’t think tablets alone could kill netbooks. A standalone tablet simply cannot serve the use-cases a netbook can.

      Maybe tablets with keyboard docks like the Transformer Prime and running Ubuntu for Android.

      But when you get there, you practially have a netbook so you could say that netbooks transformed into tablets with docks.

  2. I hope the 10″ notebook form factor stays. Maybe with ARM and Windows 8 or with Intel’s new architecture Atom next year. I don’t like tablets. Touch interface is going backwards. An Android/iOS tablet with a keyboard isn’t great either.

    Too bad 10″ inch screens isn’t part of the whole ultrabook marketing.

  3. Netbooks WILL come back with a vengeance when Windows on ARM will be available.

    Small, ultrabook-like, energy efficient mini laptops will rise again, that’s for sure.

    1. Possibly but there is still a lot of questions on how Windows 8 for ARM will work out.  While there is also the problem that the policy for small profit margins of netbooks don’t apply to ARM devices. 

      Meaning manufacturers won’t have the same incentive to keep pricing as low as possible aside from normal competition and the ARM market generally lacks the stability that helps netbooks keep those prices as low as possible.  Since every model is custom and there is very little that is ever off the self. 

      So I wouldn’t count on ARM alone re-vitalizing the netbook market.  Though they should make it more interesting.

      Though Windows 8 and the next gen Intel 22nm Silvermont, along with a design evolution of what we call netbooks, in combination could altogether cause such a re-vitalization.

      Imagine for example, something that basically looks like the Asus Transformer, complete with keyboard dock as standard instead of as a option, but with closer to Ultrabook performance and still priced in the netbook range.  Something like that is far more likely to sell IMO.

    2. I don’t think WOA will be such a big, disruptive OS.

      For example, it will only a have a crippled Desktop Mode. Even Android + Ubuntu for Android will be able to support use-cases better.

      WOA in touch-mode & apps will be nothing compared to Android (number of apps…etc).

    3. >> I don’t think WOA will be such a big, disruptive OS.

      I don’t think Windows is such a big, disruptive OS.

      For example, it has only a crippled Desktop Mode. Even
      Android + Ubuntu for Android is able to support use-cases better.

      Windows is nothing compared to Android (number of apps…etc).

      1. There’s a lot more to consider than just number of apps.

        Mobile OS and apps are limited by design and intended hardware that prevents them from ever being as powerful and as capable as desktop equivalents. 

        While the only thing that would give Android more total apps is if you discount all legacy apps and that’ll only be a issue on ARM.  Never mind a lot of those apps are just the same kind of app by different developers.

        Now while other desktop OS options like Linux are also better than Android, there is a much smaller market for them than Windows with Windows users still representing the vast majority of all desktop OS users.

        While combo solutions also still have their limitations.

        Besides, there will also be Android + Windows combinations being made available and not just Android + Linux/Ubuntu.  So if nothing else the mobile market is going to be a whole lot more interesting.

  4. Too bad, I was looking forward to the Lenovo S110 with HD, non glare screen and low power CPU. Nevertheless I’m quite happy with my current Acer 522 with 1280×720 screen and FOUR gigabytes of memory, capable of running Windows 7 in 64 bits mode!

  5. I have seen pre-order links for the S110 out there (for example: https://www.aztekcomputers.com/206932U-LENOVO-2592022.html ) so there is a pretty good chance this will be available stateside.   Probably on a very limited basis; Lenovo has mostly given up on the Netbook market.

    Personally, I think Lenovo stopped making good netbooks with they replaced their high quality ALPS keyboards with lower-quality Chicony keyboards, as well as replacing their good-quality ChungHWA displays with lower-quality AUO screens. 

    This was a stealth replacement; Lenovo quietly replaced these components in batches of Lenovo S10-3 computers with lower-quality components without letting anyone know.

    And, yes, if anyone knows where I can purchase genuine ChungHWA CLAA101NB03A displays to replace the ones in my S10-3s with crappy AUO displays, let me know.  I can also use an ALPS KFRTBA130A (US) keyboard for my S10-3 with the more mushy Chicony keyboard.

  6. display and other device specific restrictions given by microsoft and intel (graphics capabilities) were direct shots in the knee of these specimens. internet needs as the cross-media application nowadays devices that are powerful in these categories. that has been realized in tablets whereas netbooks in this respect had been kept crippelt on purpose. no wonder about the outcome in the markets.

  7. I think we should be careful to note that there aren’t really any better options for the 10″ range right now. 

    Many companies are waiting for Windows 8 to come out and many of the game changer technology improvements won’t come out till then or early next year.

    While the economy, manufacturing shortages, and other issues are all effecting sales right now, but this period won’t last forever.

    1. I don’t think display and other restrictions will go away with Windows 8 so I don’t see any point in waiting for that (as an OEM).

      The Metro interface is appealing only if you have a touchsreen which a netbook doesn’t, so Win8 will bring nothing really new for netbooks.

      I am all for $200-300 netbooks but I think they would be much more appealing if they could be separated as tablet+dock and include touch PLUS unlimited desktop modes.

      1.  Metro isn’t only for Touch screens, especially with the emphasis on making Metro apps to ensure cross platform compatibility. 

        Even if you discount that remember their is a growing demand for higher resolutions screens, with both Intel and MS want to be relevant to the mobile market, and it’ll eventually become cheaper to use the same screen everyone else is using for the given size range. 

        So they’ll have little choice but to increase the screen resolutions. 
        They’re just likely waiting till they absolutely have to before they do.

        The emphasis for getting ready for Windows 8 also means proper driver support for the Cedar Trail GMAs may not come out until then as well.  Along with faster versions of the Cedar Trail chips, like the 2GHz N2850 that can be released later are basically limiting the reasons why companies should put too much effort into releasing products now in a already slowing netbook market.

        While I wouldn’t assume too much of how much netbooks may change a year from now as many tablet features are starting to be pushed by Intel. 

        Like you said yourself, they’ll be more appealing if they functioned more like the Asus Transformer.

        While Intel is doing things like stating that Ultrabooks are going to be getting motion sensors, touch screens, etc.  So such features are starting to become standard and beginning the redefining of these mobile systems form and functions.

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