In launching the new Apple iPad this week, CEO Steve Jobs took a stand against the popular netbook category, which he dismissed as a poor fit into the space between laptops and smartphones.
“Netbooks aren’t better at anything. They are slow, they have low-quality displays and run… PC software,” Jobs said. “[The iPad] is so much more intimate than a laptop, and so much more capable than a smartphone with this gorgeous large display.”
Netbooks, he said, are just cheap laptops.
Apple has revolutionized product categories otherwise filled with mundane devices. The iPod bought excitement to media players, and the iPhone redefined smartphones. Now Apple is trying to convince users to drop netbooks, and go for the iPad. But do the two devices really compare?
I got a chance to play with the iPad for a few minutes at the launch event, and each device has its own merits. The iPad is a more expensive, albeit powerful device than netbooks for video, e-books and gaming. The netbook is not an entertainment device, but it provides ample hard drive storage and a full keyboard on which long documents can be typed.
Acer has a busy year ahead of it, as an executive has told Bloomberg that the PC maker plans to launch a mobile application store, its own e-reader and a netbook running Google’s Chrome. Acer is reportedly looking to boost its income by 3 percent during the next two years.
Acer is looking to grab a portion of markets currently dominated by Apple, Sony and Amazon.com in its efforts to overtake Hewlett-Packard and become the world’s largest PC maker by 2013, Bloomberg reported Jan. 25.
The means to these ends will include launching its own application store and an e-book reader, both by midyear. Additionally, in the third quarter, Acer plans to launch a netbook running Google’s Chrome operating system.
Jim Wong, president of Acer’s IT Products division, told Bloomberg he expects that 12 million of the 15 million netbooks Acer is expected to sell in 2010 will feature Chrome.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Acer held the No. 2 PC market share position, shipping 11.4 million units for 13.4 percent market share. Worldwide for the year, however, Dell squeaked past Acer for the No. 2 spot, shipping 38.41 million units to Acer’s 37.37 million units. Market leader HP shipped 59.9 million units worldwide during the year.