Remember when netbooks were the hottest item in PC land? You could hardly go a week without being buried under an avalanche of new netbook announcements. My, how things have changed. Strictly speaking, the netbook category is no more. Asus is reportedly ending its Eee PC line, and Acer hasn't announced plans to launch any new netbook models. The same goes for MSI and all the other netbook players. So, what happened?
That depends on how you look at it. According to DigiTimes, the netbook as you know it has packed its bags and moved on to emerging markets, where the devices are still being sold. Tablets have taken the torch in the U.S. and other territories, and Intel's Atom processors are moving on to embedded applications and mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.
If you look at it another way, the netbook category simply evolved, and got more expensive in the process. Intel's Ultrabook and AMD's Sleekbook form factors are the modern day netbook, offering users thin and light portability, but without the power restraints inherent with Atom-based netbooks. They have slightly larger displays, but are nearly every bit as portable and much more powerful, for a price.
Another option is Google's Chromebook. Samsung ($249) and Acer ($199) both sell affordable Chromebook models suitable for surfing the web and cloud-based tasks, be it light gaming or productivity.
So yes, the netbook as you know is dead, but the concept has evolved into something much better, don't you think?