After noticing today that its consumer Inspiron Mini netbooks were no longer available on its website (thanks Liliputing!), Dell confirmed for us that it is no longer making consumer netbooks (the business-aimed Latitude netbooks are still available on Dell.com). Not only are the Inspiron Minis being put in the grave, but the company confirmed for us that it will not be releasing new netbooks based on Intel’s forthcoming Cedar Trail platform. In other words, it is done with the category.
I clearly remember the keynote Steve Jobs gave during which he introduced the iPad. He put up a slide with the smartphone on the left and the notebook on the right. And in the middle there was a question mark. At this point I couldn’t remember clearly, so I had to watch it again. Jobs declared this third category of devices between the smartphone and the notebook needed to be, “Far better at doing some key tasks.” The key tasks being: browsing, email, photos, video, music, games, ebooks. Then the word ‘Netbook’ took center position with these words describing it: slow, low quality displays, PC software. And here’s the clincher: “The problem is netbooks aren’t better at anything.” Since being introduced the iPad has been making that pretty clear.