back to article Michael Dell: Netbooks go sour after 36 hours

According to Michael Dell, a netbook is a dream purchase - until it's about 36 hours old. "If you take a user who's used to a 14- or 15-inch notebook and you say 'Here's a 10-inch netbook,' they're gonna say 'Hey, this is so fantastic. It's so cute. It's so light. I love it,'" Dell told Silicon Valley's tech-obsessed Churchill …

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  1. NB
    Heart

    I call bull

    perhaps I'm abnormal but I love my netbook. I've got an acer aspire one running ubuntu nbr and it's awesome. I get daily SVN builds of chromium, a stable and secure platform and it works great with just 512mb of RAM. I use it for development and media (my only gripe is flash but that's always been shit) and it doesn't turn my testicles into roast potatoes when I have it on my lap (unlike my dual core Athlon X2 machine with 2GB of RAM and an nvidia card).

    Maybe Michael Dells users are stuck with crippled versions of windows or something.. I don't know but I <3 netbooks. I truly do.

  2. asdf
    Flame

    this just in, the sky is blue, water is wet

    He is so just talking crap because he knows in this segment the asian makers will eat him alive on the thin margins. I am writing this right now on my Samsung NC-10 which I have had for six monthes and probably like overall more than any other laptop I have ever owned including a few $2000 ones. The big laptop makers have grown fat and lazy and it took Intel doing an end around on them to give the customer what they wanted. I looked down on the product category too until I got one for my lady and now use more than she does. Gaming not really (but is a great scrabble machine I hear) but sitting in your underwear watching merkin football and want to look up who has more felonies yes sir we have a winner!.

  3. John B
    FAIL

    'Give me my 15-inch screen back'

    Er....no. 36 hours later, I was still thinking 'Thank God I don't have that heavy 15 inch laptop in my lap when all I wanted to do was to hit facebook and stream some music from a station in Australia.

    Nice try, Mr Dell. But I haven't looked back since buying one.

  4. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Ergh

    I used to have a Palm Pilot. Loved that thing, did everything I wanted (at the time). Only bug bears were the lack of connectivity and the bulky adaptor.

    If I could afford a netbook (it's not the netbook per se, but the obscene data charges) then I am sure I'd get a lot of use out of it. But I wouldn't expect a lot from it; it would just be "simple access on the go".

    If, of course, I needed more juice I'd just remote into a large box and get it to do the work.

    If, of course, the ****ing firewall would ****ing let me in without the mandatory ****ing **** VPN client. I'd use a secure VPN client, just not that ****ing sack of ****. >:-(

    The big problem is that netbooks are bin gsold as being "big laptop in a small box". They're not. They're what they are. They need to be Linux on an ARM chip....yeah, and pigs will be airborne.

    Then again...with all the smartphones coming out...perhaps I'll pick up one that isn't locked down (i.e. not an iPhone). Gotta tinker...need to tinker (which is why my little Sansa e280 will now lunch your iPod Nano...IMHO at any rate).

  5. Barry Tabrah
    FAIL

    I'm with Michael on this one

    At least I am when it comes to Dell kit. No inbuilt 3G, poor performance, and not exactly the prettiest chunks of hardware on the market.

    There is the issue of general useability with netbooks but they do have their place and if they are designed to meet their niche then all is well. I just feel that Dell netbooks aren't.

  6. Eddie Edwards
    Unhappy

    36 hours?

    My happiness lasted 36 minutes.

    But I did but one of the "crippled" eeePCs.

  7. Edwin
    Thumb Down

    Jaded?

    Cade, you're seriously jaded.

    I think Dell is as useless as the next guy, but Michael's right - this is *exactly* the response most people have to a netbook if they're used to a normal lappy.

    Netbooks are nice as a second "check the internet quick" machine, or for some specialist applications, or maybe as a primary machine if you're on an extreme budget, but for many applications, a second-hand laptop is probably a better bet.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Screen too small

    So no one's ever going to use that stupid little iPhone thingy.

  9. James O'Brien
    WTF?

    @Michael Dell

    "But as a replacement machine for an experienced user, it's not what we'd recommend. It's not a good experience, and we don't see users very happy with those."

    No shit asshat. We all know this but its great for the basics. No one ever expected to play a game on it....I hope

  10. Alex Tingle

    Stupid.

    In other words, "people are stupid".

  11. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    WTF?

    maybe DELL netbooks.

    Could be because your dell 'netbooks' are just not up to the competition, eh Michael?

    I don't know, only ever tried a dell once for 30 mins and when I found out about the battery life, crossed it off my list. Seemed OK enough but I suspect the battery life and the fact that the SD card sticks out like a sore thumb when inserted makes it less popular.

    My Eee is fine. Runs windoze, runs linux just fine, tons of battery life. Well built. Properly set up and upgraded it's more than a match for my heavier laptops for everyday work.

    A 9-11 inch laptop is just what it is, a compromise of computing power, real scren estate and keyboard ergonmics for size and portability. It is NOT meant for compute intensive work but...

    Consider that a netbook has the equivalent computing power of a PIII laptop of yesteryear, with FASTER RAM and in most cases, a FASTER and LARGER HDD.

    You just need to know how to set it up right and for that, you have the internet.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Michael Dell: Netbooks go sour after 36 hours"

    I'm pretty sure he's thinking of milk, not netbooks.

  13. JohnG Silver badge

    Horses for courses

    One would hope that Dell don't go around swapping people's hardware at will. The conventional approach would be that individuals identify which features are important to them and then make a considered choice from the products available. If size and weight are important but a big screen is not, a netbook might be a good choice, depending what applications are needed. If you have to carry the thing around when you are walking or cycling, a big screen is probaly not high on your list. Maybe Dell like to just pressurise their customers to buy whatever is the latest gimmick, instead of what they actually need.

  14. Trygve Henriksen
    FAIL

    I'm OK with that...

    and will follow Michael "Apple should be liquidated and the proceeds used to pay back the investors" Dell's advice and not buy a Dell netbook...

    After all, my Asus Eee does all I expect of it...

  15. Steven Pemberton
    Badgers

    He should do his homework

    For twenty years there was exactly one laptop in our house - mine. But after netbooks were introduced there were suddenly 5; everyone had one except for the 6 year old, and I can only put off his complaining by telling him that he can't have one until he can read. No one has complained after 36 hours that they are unusable. Nor after 3600 hours. They are all happy, because they know what they bought.

  16. Andrew Bush
    Paris Hilton

    I could do that, give us a job...

    And he's the CEO of Dell? Does he really not get it, or is he just trying to convince himself that netbooks are just a flash in the pan and he can soon resume selling higher powered offerings for more profit, which for basic tasks, we simply don't need?

    It's obvious that netbooks really hit a sweet spot. Granted, the screen res is an inconvenience and I'm guessing that the manufacturers are sticking mostly to the 600 pix restriction to restrict cannibalization of the notebook market. Most things in life are a compromise and the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages here.

    I love my little netbook. I mostly keep it hibernated so it 'boots' quicker, and it's usually downstairs and ready to hand for a quick Google or to check the email. It's recently been promoted to my iPod sync machine too. Natch, for work I use a 'real' computer, but then don't we all?

    Paris, because she and Mr Dell might just have been separated at birth.

  17. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge
    Stop

    Feeds and speeds vs. actual needs.

    I am sure that there are trends to be extracted by staring at a bar graph or a spreadsheet filled with statistics. I think the truth is simpler than any CEO or Wall Street maven truly wants to admit: netbooks were the ultimate symbol that the PC has become commoditized. The Wintel platform and it's various hangers-on (Lintel, etc. etc.) have moved past just generic commoditization and into that dreaded next phase. That phase is the one where the item in question (computers, in this case,) is so ubiquitous that you now buy a device for a specific purpose rather than one generic device to solve all problems.

    For a company like Dell, (or any major box pusher) this is an absolute disaster. It’s a return to having to compete with actual innovation. We no longer simply buy our computers based on what is the fastest, or even the cheapest. We buy the computer that suits our particular needs best. If you don’t find something in Dell’s line-up that meets your particular desires, you just shop around, confident that eventually you will find it. Like any good capitalist, Dell, Acer, HP, and every other box-shifter under the sun is fighting this for all they are worth. (ASUS, you and your eee-pc. Traitors! You caused such a ruckus.) Once they have to fight this battle on innovation, economies of scale are lost. Suddenly you don’t crank out 10M of some generic unit, offering a total of maybe 6 notebooks and 10 PCs for a given season. Now you have to broaden your range to offer more models, at fewer units produced per model. Not only that, but you need to offer variability in their specification, or you’ll lose out to some other competitor who decided they would try to make money giving people equipment they actually want to buy.

    It’s a slow game, and big corporations like Dell, HP, Acer etc. are good at sending a tentacle to lash out at anyone who gets out of line. Still, it’s inevitable, as evidenced by, well, everything humans have made…ever.

    You don’t buy a radio because it has the broadest range of channels, or the highest gain antenna, do you? No, you buy a radio based on it’s look, or number of storable channels, or maybe because it includes an iPod dock, or MP3 player or some other feature. I maintain that for the vast majority of users and of usage scenarios, we hit that point of "good enough" somewhere around the P-III 1Ghz. There will always be a call for "faster stronger smarter better" in certain niches, but I don’t need my e-book reader or remote desktop box to be stupid powerful. My HTPC needs to sit in the corner and not consume watts when I don’t want it to. My "morning newspaper" El-Reg reading laptop needs to only be capable of turning on, opening El Reg, and allowing me to read the articles, and post long boring comments.

    Of the 15 or so computers I own, my home VDI setup, (sandboxing is good,) and my games rig have any oomph. (And the reality is the house server is configured for muchos big-time power saving anyways, since even hosting 4 VMs, it’s idle most of the day.) The rest of these systems could cheerfully meet every need I could possibly have for them with a P-III 1Ghz, or an Atom. I bought myself a new gaming rig in January. My next 4 planned systems, (including my replacement home VDI server,) are going to be Atoms. (Server gets a dual core.) I’ll be replacing 4 existing (but marginally flakey) systems with brand new gear that consumes a tenth the wattage of my previous systems for less than what it would have cost me to buy a new home server 5 years ago. Even for an avid consumer of technology like myself, I have reached the point where I spend more money every year on disks than I do on the systems that feed them. And I’m perfectly happy with the performance of all of that gear.

    If you’re Michael Dell, that’s got to be ****ing terrifying.

  18. Raumkraut

    "New product not the same as old" shocker

    AFAICT the only people who have ever even suggested netbooks are a suitable replacement for a regular laptop are Microsoft, when trying to push XP onto netbooks, rather than surrender the market to Linux.

  19. Bad Beaver
    WTF?

    I bow to these insights

    Oh Michael, you're the smartness, 4real!

  20. Trevor Pott o_O Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Late night postings.

    I humbly beg the pedants to avoid drawing and quartering me for my above posting. I realise I used it's instead of its. (I am aware that I should properly proof-read my comments more thoroughly before posting, lest I be savaged by my fellow commenttards.) I offer in my defence only the fact that I am posting comments at 1:30am.

    And yes...it's (proper usage has occurred!) bedtime for me. Have an excellent Wednesday everyone.

  21. SynnerCal
    Thumb Down

    I'll give him a "C"

    He's half right - yes, a netbook makes zero sense as the first/only machine, but as a secondary machine or one for those low-powered needs (web browsing, mail, TwitBook, etc) it's a reasonable choice. Well at least it was until some "genius" decided that we all needed 10 and 11 inch screens along with a corresponding massive price hike!

    Where I disagree is that a proper (ie more expensive) laptop is a better choice. My netbook is small enough to be a 'throw it in the rucksack in case I need it" item - whereas a laptop in the same circumstances would only be going if I was very sure I needed it - the weight and bulk being the #1 factors. Similarly, if you try and use a full laptop on a bus/train then more often than not you ain't going to be popular with your fellow passengers. The smaller netbook is a lot more 'friendly' to those around.

    Last point is the battery life - the low powered cpu = more battery life. So I'd argue for the 'road warrior' that's the third key aspect (behind size and weight).

    Sure I suspect that a lot of netbooks were bought by the iPhone-toting, latte-glugging fashionista's as the latest 'thing', in which case they'll be filling cupboards in the 36 hours that Dell says. On the other hand, there's probably quite a few folks who found that a small, light and long running gizmo is ideal for their needs. My little Acer is certainly powerful enough for web browsing/shopping, email, IM, Twitter and office type work (Open Office in my case).

    Of course, Dell aren't alone in hating the low margins on the netbooks, which is why the prices have been shooting up since they were launched. And I can quite understand why Dell would prefer the more expensive laptops - more revenue!

    Oh, btw Mr Dell, in my case having a netbook means I use my laptop a heck of a lot less...

  22. Waderider
    Thumb Down

    What an eijeet.......

    .......the man clearly has a vested interest in selling products that make him more coin.

    I'm very happy with my netbook years down the line. And they're being rapidly adopted now by less techy students at my university, and the experience seems to be a happy, satisfying cash saving experience for them.

    If there are folk out there terribly unhappy with their netbook I'd suggest they were sold the wrong product by a salesman/website, and the shortcomings weren't made clear. And that would be the fault of the folk in charge of the website/sales team; people like Mr Dell.

    Reminds me of the 'rush to the bottom' statement that Sony came out with; similar tosh said for similar reasons.

  23. jake Silver badge

    IMNECTHO, Mr. Dell's right in one aspect.

    Mr. Dell sez: "We see a fair amount of customer not really being that satisfied with the smaller screen and the lower performance - unless it's like a secondary machine"

    Netbooks ARE secondary machines. We have several here, and they do what they do quite admirably. But they are NOT our primary, go-to machines when we are sitting down to do serious computing[1] ... even when we're on the road, we carry laptops with modern values of screen, CPU, RAM, disk, I/O and etc. Obviously, your mileage may vary ...

    [1] Whatever the fuck that is ... can anyone define "serious computing"? I thought not ...

  24. nichomach
    FAIL

    Pretty good article...

    ....but Dell's wrong. My wife adores her Acer Aspire D150 far more than she ever did her 15.4" screen laptop. At least part of that is manufacturer insistence on shipping those large machines with crappy WXGA res screens that really aren't THAT much more usable at 1280x800 than a 10" netbook screen at 1024x600. Yes, you can buy a few machines with higher res screens, but they're thinner on the ground and the price premium is way higher than justified.

  25. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Booooo

    This attitude is a real shame, as Dell (until recently) made the best netbook of them all - the Dell Mini 9. They're like gold dust on the second hand market now.

    I was fortunate enough to get a 3G-enabled one and absolutely love it - 6 months more than Michael Dell thinks I should - and my colleagues are equally attached to theirs.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Marvelous

    I guess he must have tried one of his own company's products, where the Dell supplied, Dell branded wireless configuration window (non resizeable) is too big for the screen of the Dell produced netbook, so you can't see the buttons to click to set up your WiFi connection...

    Than made me wish for a 15" screen.

  27. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Stating the bleedin' obvious

    "We see a fair amount of customer not really being that satisfied with the smaller screen and the lower performance - unless it's like a secondary machine or it's a very first machine and the expectations are low," he said. "But as a replacement machine for an experienced user, it's not what we'd recommend. It's not a good experience, and we don't see users very happy with those."

    I was initially impressed by my bicycle purchase but slowly disappointed that it wasn't a wise choice as a replacement for my Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. It may be okay around town but when I'm trying to emulate Jenson Button on the M3 it really cannot deliver. Last week I was over-taken by a milk float - I really should have bought one of those instead.

    My last holiday "a night in Paris" was a complete disappointment. I was just left in a hotel room by myself. Not what I was expecting at all. Next time I'm booking "a night in Jordon".

  28. John Robson Silver badge
    Stop

    Netbooks are brilliant

    But they aren't primary machines - I use them in server rooms, around the home and on the train.

    My issue isn't the screen though, it's the keyboard, just fractionally too small. The psion5 was SO compact that the keyboard was a good compromise, the netbook needs a bag, so I kind of expect to be able to type.

    Maybe a fold out extension of some sort?

    or should I just grab one of these? http://www.gadgets.co.uk/item/USBRK/USB-Flexible-Portable-Rubber-Keyboard.html

  29. David M

    Exactly my reaction

    This was exactly my reaction to my new netbook. Initially great, but rapidly realising that the screen was too restrictive. Not too small, but needed more pixels.

    I heard a rumour that 1024x600 resolution was a restriction imposed by Intel on machines with Atom processors. Anyone know if this is true?

    I still find plenty of applications for my netbook, and I can work-around the resolution to some extent by disabling unnecessary toolbars and using full-screen modes more, but it's a shame that the potential of this form-factor isn't fully realised.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bleedin' obvious!

    "...But as a general purpose notebook, it's not really a great solution do screen size and performance"

    Well yes. But everyone knows this already, no?

    I have one of those little NC10 things.. It's great (apart from the WiFi copping out every hour - grrrr). Very small and light. Very handy. But nobody would suggest it can run protein-folding algorithms very quickly or run an air traffic control system.

    Of course, if you want to run MS office then nobody in their right mind would try this on anything less than a 10GHz, 1TB machine (writing a letter REALLY does require such power - apparently).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dell's Netbook isn't selling then

    He's trying to draw people away from them to the larger laptops, which tells you his netbook isn't doing well.

    I don't miss the hulking great big bag I had to carry for a laptop and I won't be switching back.

  32. Rick Byers
    Go

    Horses for Courses

    When my 17" Dell Dimension went back to IT for fixing, I had to use my Acer Aspire One for 2 weeks.

    it's 8.9", 1.5GB RAM Windows 7 and Office 2007, so I thought I'd giv it a bit of a thrashing.

    Plugged into external Keyboard, Mouse and Monitor, in the office, and as it is on the road, I was massively surprised.

    Yeah, it ran our of steam when you have more than 2 Office 2007 Apps open (what PC doesn't???), but other than that it was fantastice, and my backed loved me on long trips lugging my laptop case around.

    These little machines were never a replacement for a full sized laptop, they are what they say they are Netbooks. Surf the web, look at emails, and a bit of office work.

    I think Mr Dell is a little hacked off as the profit margins are lower than on the beast machines, that's all.

    Sour grapes?

  33. Mat
    FAIL

    So Basically

    Netbooks are crap... Unless it is a Dell...

    Riiiiiiight...

  34. Steve 48
    Thumb Down

    Duh...

    The problem is not the products, but people mis-understanding what they are - netbook != notebook. If you want something light to fit in your/your missus' handbag to browse t'internet, check emails and type the odd document on then a netbook is ok, but if you want to watch pr0n in HD then a notebook is what you want!

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Agree with him but

    Nobody (except maybe Ballmner) says

    "Users don't find the iPhone a great experience compared to the 15" screens of laptops".

    I agree. I don't know anyone who uses a netbook as their primary PC. They're basic content devouring machines that are cheap enough to be taken to the beach. (insert Eee girl picture).

  36. DavCrav Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Bollocks

    Michael Dell can STFU. Writing this on a netbook right now, I can tell him that they are fine for general use, and people like me buy them because we do a lot of travelling and want something small enough to carry easily, but large enough that we can type properly. A 10" netbook is perfect for that.

  37. Michael B.

    36 hours? errr no

    I've had my PC World brand MSI Wind over a year now and certainly haven't been disappointed with it. In fact most of the people I know who have equivalent models love the small screen and diminutive size of the laptops. Carrying these small and light machines around is so much easier than a 14 or 15 in Dell clunker.

  38. Anton Ivanov
    Flame

    Stupid...

    90%+ of people who buy netbooks buy them as second machines. This way I can have a decent desktop (not a crappy desktop replacement) for whatever I consider "decent" and carry a lightweight laptop whenever I want to go. All within the budget.

    There is simply no way I am buying anything above 10 inch (proper classic 4:3 diagonal, not widescreen if possible). Same for most consumers who have a netbook. If they are going to buy something it will be a desktop to supplement it, not a laptop.

    In fact, the sole thing to prevent this for businesses is the software license costs. If a business is set up for a non-microsoft or mixed environment it is definitely worth doing. In a microsoft one, the duplicate licenses for office, servers and the extra exchange cals are going to kill you.

  39. Antony 4
    WTF?

    "Performance is kind of coming back"?

    It never went away! My Linux boxes (and netbook) are as snappy as ever. :-)

    All this hype about Windows 7 being so much faster than Vista is all Marketing Moonshine of course. The benchmarks I've seen say it's fundamentally the same as Vista: Much of the perceived speed-up is due to MS tweaking the UI to be more responsive. Not very surprising because It's still much the same beast as Vista under the covers.

  40. A. Lewis
    Badgers

    Pah

    I've had my EEE for nearly two years now, and it's still a joy to use. Surely anyone buying a netbook (or the Reg term that I prefer: laptot) has given some thought to the fact that the screen is smaller?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Megaphone

    It's not the screen, Michael

    I bought a Mini 9 from Michael. Wonderful little machine. At least, it was when I put OSX on it. Unfortunately, the SSD broke. Twice. So you see, it's not the screen that is keeping me from mobile bliss. It's the fact I can't start the cu*ting b*stard.

  42. Cazzo Enorme

    A title should not be required

    Can Michael provide links to some studies that back up his assertions? Or is this marketing bullshit?

    I've now been using a Samsung NC-10 as my computer since the beginning of this year, and it's proved to be a fine replacement for the 17" laptop it replaced. I use it for the usual stuff - web browsing, email - but also for development (C, C++ and Java). Admittedly I don't use Windows, so perhaps my desktop is more suitable for the Samsung's screen size. If so, then the problem would be crappy configuration of Windows, not the netbooks themselves.

  43. Marvin the Martian
    Pint

    Gee.

    "Laptops --- you'll like it for a while, so portable and stuff, but then your battery runs out and so forth, and you'll crave your old desktop soon enough."

  44. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The man's right

    Size matters. It doesn't just matter - it's crucial.

    Let's face it, the major step is to go from NOT carrying a portable around, to carrying one. After that minor issues like does it weigh 2kg or 3kg or is it a few cm. longer/wider/fatter don't make that much difference: you're still carrying one more thing. Once you start carrying, it makes sense to pack in as many features as possible - with the hope that you can then dump one of the other toys you habitually lug around. So far that hasn't happened as a lappy takes sooooooooo long to boot up and is liable to catch fire if you have it powered up while in it's padded bag.. Get it down to sub-second (like my PDA with the O/S in firmware and nice small, pert applications) and you're on the right road. Have a micro-power mode for phoning, and MP3-ing and you're most of the way there.

    This thing about screen size is also what makes me laugh, and cry, about "smart" phones. Look! the new WHIZZY 500, with it's massive 3 inch screen!!! Huh? Has someone redefined the inch to be about 15cm? Until phones and all the other trinkets get away fromt he "massive", postage stamp sized peep-holes and get decent sized screens, (and we're talking 12++ inches here,) and get keyboards that normal sized fingers can use, they're butterly useless for watching movies, surfing or emailing. But then they'd be laptops, wouldn't they.

  45. Haku

    Other side othe coin

    I once had a 'full size' laptop years ago but not for long because it was annoying to use as it was too heavy, difficult to carry around, viewing angle of the LCD screen was like 90% of the cheap end of the scale laptops - bloody atrocious because unless you get the screen dead square on, you're looking at a dark image where the contrast has gone skewif and the colours have gone psychadelic, and even when you're square on you get noticable shading where the top of the screen is darker than the bottom.

    Sure the expensive 'full size' laptops have the nice viewing angle LCD screens but they cost a fortune so you wouldn't want to be lugging it around too much in case you break it, defeating the point of a portable computer.

    But for me, netbooks (or legtops as they can appropriately be called) are what I've wanted for years because they're very lightweight meaning I can easily hold it in one hand and type on it with the other, carry it around without feeling like I'm in the lead transport business, very rugged because of the SSD (although some arsewit netbook manufacturers are dumping that for HDDs, idiots) so I don't need to treat the unit with any special care when lugging it around and carrying it in my bike panniers (a HDD would probably have died months and months ago) and best of all you can afford to buy a new one each year when the features increase but the size/weight doesn't because they're so damn cheap for what they offer!

  46. This post has been deleted by its author

  47. Jeremy Chappell
    Headmaster

    Trouble is...

    I actually find myself mostly agreeing with Dell on this. As a primary machine the typical netbook isn't great. It's something that wonderful to carry, somewhat less wonderful to actually use. The other problem is performance. Most people complain their computer is "slow", and think "I've got a slow computer" they cope, now give them a machine that actually IS SLOW ... you get the idea.

    Now Netbooks can be fantastic, if you're carrying it more than using it, then it's great (and that sounds weird, but think about someone who want email on the move - a Netbook is a heck of a lot nicer to use than a Blackberry). Or as some kind of "tool" (single function) where the application is fine on the smaller display and there isn't too much mousing/typing. Or as your "other laptop".

    Now where I think Dell does get it wrong is the specific example of the Latitude 2100 - if you think about some of the examples above you can see "slightly rugged" is a real advantage, I don't need to be a schoolboy (or schoolgirl) to appreciate that. I don't really understand why most Netbooks are "glossy scratch magnets" when the whole idea is to "throw it into a bag"! Perhaps Dell would do better looking at how Netbooks can be useful and design them for these needs (more like the 2100) than wonder why people bought the "sexy, glossy" ones and were disappointed.

    Here's my ideal Netbook:

    Guts like the Acer Ferrari One (with the upgrade to 4GB). Space for an internal 3G modem. Keyboard from the afore mentioned Ferrari One. Outside like the Latitude 2100. Ability to run Linux (as well as Windows, inc Win7). Ethernet port (this is very specific to what I do). Convertible Tablet option. Long life battery slice (I can live with it being less "thin & sexy"). I'd say no more than £500. Schoolchildren need not apply.

  48. Nigel 11

    XP not Vista!

    A netbook is the only way left for Joe public to get something running XP. And for very many purposes, a netbook running XP beats a state-of-the-art full notebook running Vista hands-down. Plus, it's hugely cheaper, probably half the weight, and costs so little that you don't live in fear of it getting smashed or stolen.

    Heaven for me would be a netbook with a decent resolution screen, say 1400x900. Why aren't they on the market? I believe that Microsoft's monopoly is to blame - if it's got a decent screen, they won't sell an XP license for use on it.

  49. breakfast
    FAIL

    Is that a 15" widescreen?

    It seems like every laptop maker is out on this crazy "widescreen laptop" thing at the moment that means that if one was to buy a laptop with a 15" screen the actual visible height is no better than on a netbook with a regular proportion 10" screen so you end up needing a huge screen just to get enough scroll height that you can have more than your browser's toolbars visible...

  50. Steve Williams

    Obviously Reg readers have much more ...

    ...experience selling netbooks to the general public than Michael Dell. Or possibly NOT.

    Anyone who reads or has heard of El Reg probably has a clue when it comes to buying their personal IT hardware. On the other hand, I would imagine a lot of netbooks are being returned just for the reasons he says by people who are buying on the basis of price or just to see what the fuss is about.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    It's only the screen

    I've upgraded my netbook, Toshiba NB200 to have 2 GB and it happily runs VM Ware and databases on Ubuntu. The only issue is the small screen size and that fits in economy class and the trains.

    Together with the lightness, my 15.4 lappy felt like a ton weight last time I moved it, I'm quite happy with a netbook.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @jake

    Serious computing = the latest game.

    Or possible video work.

  53. Chronos
    Thumb Down

    OT: Jesus wept!

    Another fortnight of this grinning fool's mugshot on the front page :o(

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Industry Verses General Public...

    An industry Demand is not the Same as a General Public Demand...SCC's are great if you work in IT and know what you are getting..

    seems the manufacturers dropped the ball on the marketing and Joe thought he was getting a propper computer!

    Now if it had been sold as a MyFaceTwitBook utility Tool not as a PC things might be different.

  55. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    FAIL

    Agree. The screen would drive me mad.

    Netbooks are for people who feel that having a full and varied life is less important than checking their FriendFace page, and as such have not the strength to carry the additional 1Kg of proper laptop.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Rhubarb!

    I don't agree that they can't be used as a main machine.

    My main machine (Quad Core, 8GB RAM, huge RAID array) is boxed up until I get my house sorted.

    In the meantime I'm using my Advent 4211 (MSI Wind) for everything.

    I play DD Online on it, I'm doing an OU course on it.

    Yeah, it doesn't like Office much so I use Google Docs.

    It does everything I need and I've had it a damn sight longer than 36 hours. (The letters are wearing off the keys!!)

  57. Ian Ferguson
    Coat

    Netbooks are fine!

    I'm wtriting on onwe now and I csan tell you tjhat the keyuboard is wopderful!

  58. Nic 3
    Thumb Up

    Agree

    I agree with a lot of the comments here but even as a developer of 10 years experience I was still seduced by the concept of a netbook as a replacement for a laptop. I bought one but got pissed off with it within 48 hours and returned it. I replaced it with a Macbook which (not being a primary mac user) I have to say I love as a laptop.

    It's down to expectations and mine were clearly too high for a netbook. Others presumably have similar thoughts.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Dear Mr. Michael Dell

    Thank you for your interesting insight, Mr. Dell. But, truly, couldn't your company's sales department convince people to buy a product regardless of its actual merits?

    A sufficiently skilled salesperson would be able to convince just about anyone to buy nearly anything. So if you're taking this position, might I suggest consideration towards replacing your sales force or their senior management until you can find a team that can actually sell product -- irrespective of whatever it is. Test newhires by requiring them to sell, say, a sack of lemons as an extra-cost accesory to a new Dell computer.

    I realise that sounds like a radical concept these days with fewer low-hanging sales fruits, but with the economy being what it is, it benefits your company to return to the fundamentals of good salesmanship.

    Hugs and kisses,

    -A concerned potential Dell investor

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Obviously Reg readers have much more experience

    There is one very specific area where Mr Dell has more experience than anyone else in the industry.

    That is the area of having Intel and Microsoft pick up far more than their fair share of R+D and marketing costs.

    Any other sensible vendor, and very definitely any credible netbook vendor next year, will have to be willing to venture outside Michael's Wintel comfort zone. And once the vendor does that, they lose the benefits of their "best mates" status with Intel and Microsoft. But they hopefully also have a better netbook than anything Wintel based, at a fraction of the price of anything Wintel based, selling in bigger volume than any Wintel based netbook.

    Michael, you better learn to lead, follow, or quit whining and get out of the way, because netbooks are here to stay, even if your Wintel comfort zone hasn't got long to live before it gets punctured.

  61. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    Couldn't be more wrong

    I use my eeePC900 (linux) primarily for on-site diagnostics, software installation etc. Some of our machines have *serious* vibration, but the NB just shrugs it off, bouncing up and down quite happily.

    Oh, and the NB, it's power supply (which so far I've never needed on site) , and a mouse all fit in the glove compartment with room to spare for the usual half-eaten sandwiches etc.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    on the contrary...

    I bought a Dell Mini 9 to use as a second machine, and now use it almost exclusively at home (since the laptop is usually booked by my wife), including some development work that I bring home from the office every now and then. The processor is plenty fast for office work, and is also capable of running all the development tools I need, including the MIP solvers. Of course, I can't run huge optimization projects on it, but for developing prototypes it's more than sufficient. It boots faster (running Linux, of course). It's much lighter. It's got good battery life. It's simply brilliant. And when I'm done, it vanishes in a drawer. I don't want to try the same trick with the 29" monitor I have in the office. The only drawbacks are the smallish keyboard and the slightly odd 1024x600 resolution. The Mini 10 might have been the better choice.

    In short: when travelling (or for some quick work/surfing at home), give me something small and light. When at work, give me a large screen. I really don't understand why 15" notebooks still exist.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Dell Mini 9

    I got a Dell Mini 9 and installed OS X on it and I absolutely love it. I wouldn't use it to work on for hours on end, but for surfing, email, IM, etc. it's really fantastic.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    No surprises

    Some classic behaviour from a vendor here:

    First, push punters to higher margin products, like the bombardment you get for "upgrading your experience", typically accompanied with "you know you deserve it", "you love it", "spoil yourself" and the rest of the tired Britard-targeted slogans - I'm sure every country has the equivalent, however - now desperately needed as the economy is in the toilet.

    Then, feel the pressure from your suppliers: Windows 7 probably won't work on something with less than 4GB RAM, so when Steve Ballmer calls you up and tells you to sing to his tune, that's what you do. If you're a vendor like Asus, the pressure from Microsoft is nicely balanced with your own envy of established vendors and their "more serious" products, so you'll sacrifice any lead in any emerging segment just to feel like a major player.

  65. John Ridley 1

    Just the opposite

    Until I got my netbook, every laptop purchase before that was kind of cool for a couple of days, then I was thinking "This thing is too big and heavy." I actually never used a laptop very much, they seemed like good ideas at the time but were too big to carry around.

    Now that I have had a netbook for about a year, I still love it and I use it far more than any laptop I've used before. Of course, that still means maybe once a week,and sometimes not for a month at a time, but that's because IMO laptops still haven't replaced desktops for actual work.

  66. Marcelo Rodrigues
    Thumb Up

    Netbooks are grrrrrreat!

    No one in his right state of mind would suggest to use a netbook as a high powered machine.

    But I got an Asus EEE 1101H to the missus. Great machine, small and light. Runs Office 2007 ok (mind You, not a 12K rows spreadsheet), and it's a charm on the Internet.

    Did I mention de 1,3kg, 11" screen, 1366x768 resolution and the 11H battery life? Well, ok. 11H in the paper. But it does, consistently, 9 hours with some battery to spare.

    No connectivity problems too - as it comes with bluetooth, ethernet and 802.11n. All of this with WindowsXP and Kaspersky. :D

  67. Michael C
    Grenade

    It's an extension of a PC, not a PC

    Admitedly, there are some people, maybe 1-2% of the market, with low enough expectations of PC performance and low enough needs, and who are willing to attempt to function in practically Win98 resolutions on a 9-10" screen, or those who are simply willing to accept that because they can't afford the alternative.

    However, in reality, the Netbook is not something people buy as a primary PC (many do, then return it within 14 days having learned better). A Netbook is a light, cheap, simple machine good enough to bring to aclass and take notes, to surf in a coffee shop, or to bring on a road trip and run a corporate presentation (as long as you don;t need to support HD projection). It's something you do some work on, then sync files back to a real PC or notebook later. It;s a slightly more usable e-mail platform than an iPhone or Blackberry if you have to type a lot of lengthy replies though the form factor is certainly less protable.

    As a primary machine, most colleges won't even accept it (won't run XP pro due to license limits, so it can't join a domain, thus can't be part of the secure campus network; same goes for companies). A lot of people showing up to USC this year got that as a nast surprise (after they failed to read the colleges new PC requirements page before buying a machine). You can't even get on the campus wifi network unless the machine has a domain account, so in class, you can't iunteract with the professor's presentation, automatically download notes, access their podcasts, or get/turn in assignemnts. A lot of kids bought these things mid summer, and are now stuck with them, and with buying a $1200 minimum priced machine (campus requirements for even basic students are a bit higher than ordinary jJoe, especially since the campus expects you to use that machine for 3-4 years, and still keep up with security requirements, and not also be telling the professor "give it just 2 more minutes, it;s almost booted up!")

    Personally, I'm holding out. i have an iPhone (2 in the family). I'm also looking hard at the Eee keyboard, eagerly waiting to hear the price is under $400 ($300 and I'll but it on day 1). I don't mind the extra 2 lbs of a 15" Macbook compared to a netbook, especially since I don't have to figure out how to manage files across multiple PCs without the use of an integrated sync app, which is what netbooks REALLY need (live mesh.com anyone?) I also don't think 3" less in size makes the slightest difference in carying a bag or not. The BAG is what's cumbersome, and 10" sized bags don't hold paper which is still quite necessary fore meetings, and the power brick is the same size, also those netbooks need external CD drives which actually can make taking them on trips worse, making the bag thicker or bulgy.

    I think sliding a 9-10" Mac tablet in a bag, if they're $500 and can support some slightly more advanced software than an iPhone and a bit more multitasking, would be something I'd greatly considder. A Netbook? No, can't find a business case for them that I wouldn't easily exchan ge a 13-15 full notebook for. It's simply not that big of a difference. And yea, great, it's $299 with a contract or $500 without one, but then you have to buy a SECOND copy of office, more antivirus, probably a few other apps, and manage patching 2 machines and dealing with file versioning, so where's the savings? $500 for netbook, $300 for office, $100 in other misc software/accessories, $50 for netbook sized bag; for the differnece I'd have gotten a rediculously powerful 15" machine that I'd be able to keep playing cutting edge games on for 3-4 years, or expect to have a 5-6 year lifespan... It's not cheaper to have a netbook unless it IS your only machine, and good luck with that.

  68. Number6

    Horses for Courses

    I'm happy with my Aspire One, in fact I've got it at work with me today and I'm using it as a portable terminal. Had I bought it as a laptop and expected to do a lot of laptop-like things then yes, it would be unsuitable, but I bought it because it is small, light and robust and easier to carry around places where a full-size laptop would be an inconvenience. For checking email, web browsing or writing notes on the move, it is ideal, but I always have a desktop or laptop machine to come back to at the end of a trip.

  69. adam payne Silver badge
    Stop

    Handy little things

    I love my netbook and I got it about four months ago. Nice, light and fits perfectly on top of my XBox 360.

    If I get stuck on a 360 game I can open the lid, resume windows, look on the internet and I don't need to switch my gaming PC on.

    Netbooks are a handy thing to have but only if you have a specific need for one.

  70. Michael 28
    Happy

    Aspire one A150L here,

    ...running opensuse 11.1 ! It is currently my main machine (out of 3) as none of the rest run skype, or recognise my webcam , and anyway i'm testing 11.2 milestone 7 on one machine .

    and can't open a repository yet.

    Nice machine ! Does what it says on the tin. Looks good too!

  71. Chika
    Alert

    He's certainly entitled to his opinion

    ...but I can't agree. Just as I often say about buying a PC, the purchase of a netbook over a laptop is a matter of use. I currently use an Acer Aspire One trackside at motor racing events after using a fairly chunky laptop for a couple of years prior to that and a Psion 5 for some years before that.

    The Psion was great, at least until the screen washed out. Very small, and could be taken anywhere.

    The Acer is great, though it takes a little more effort than the Psion. It's lightweight, though not small enough to fit in a pocket which was a big advantage of the Psion because I could use it anywhere on the circuit without having to lug it.

    The chunky laptop was a pain in the arm (no, it wasn't ARM powered!). It worked OK, but I could have done without the extra weight and the worry about what a little bit of contact might do to its HDD.

    But not everyone uses a netbook or laptop for this sort of thing. In other words, Dell is generalising, which is always a dangerous thing to do... heh!

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Netbooks are fine.

    I have two Dell laptops, both high power business / professional machines. Until I got my Aspire One I never carried either about. I write stories as a passtime and now my netbook gets put into my back pack and used on the train and on holiday. I run the cut down version of XP and Office 2007 and it's fast enough for my writing skills. It has great connectivity and a very clear screen. Do I use it at home, well no. But I rarely use either of the two Dells either.

    Netbooks have their uses and as a light portable device they are spot on.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technology improving / people still morons

    Yes most people are idiots and expect to get the same user experience from a 10" screen as a 15" screen.

    As an at home device my eeePC is intolerable. But if I was out and about I am happy for the small size and weight. Also with a 9 hr battery life i dont have to lug about the charging gubbins.

    Im waiting for the laptop with the 37 inch screen. Followed by the frenzied purchases .Followed by the moronic complaints from all the people that got one and then complained about lugging it about.

  74. Kwac

    Different markets

    1. desktop, oir use at a desk.

    2. laptop, for use where you move about a bit.

    3. netbook., for use where you have to move about a lot.

    (No number 4, even those w ankers whose emails end in "Sent from my iphone/blackberry - are they too thick to change their sigs, or do they expect us to collapse in admiration/envy?)

  75. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Tadpole were right

    When most people use an x86 after 36hours they realise the CPU isn't really upto the job of running a data centre like Hotmail or t-mobile/Danger and so switch back to Sparc.

    That's why people should just buy a Sparc laptop from Tadpole in the first place.

    Or am I talking complex b********

  76. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Michael C

    "most colleges won't even accept it (won't run XP pro due to license limits, so it can't join a domain, thus can't be part of the secure campus network"

    I wish you were joking, but regrettably I suspect you're not.

    After all, there is no possible (commercially and technically viable) alternative to Active Directory for a secure network, either in business or where taxpayers' money is involved, is there. Certainly not one that uses open vendor-independent standards for identification authentication and protection and the like. Yeah.

    And similarly there is no possible alternative to a domain-capable Microsoft OS on the students' PCs, is there?

    [Aside 1: Does this mean that students with Macs are second class citizens too, or is Michael not 100% with the program?]

    [Aside 2: Unless the colleges etc are going to use DRM-enforced copy protection etc on all the lecture materials and stuff, wtf don't they accept that they *can't* protect them and put them somewhere where domain membership isn't necessary for accessing them? This (a) saves them hassle and (b) if the materials are good, gets them good publicity - like the place whose VHDL materials I'm learning from at the moment]

  77. Jose Hales-Garcia
    Headmaster

    Proactive damage control

    Michael Dell is now on record as stating that netbooks are dead. This is in advance of Apple's iTablet release of course.

    He needed to say this, in order to look good when Apple redefines the netbook market.

    Micheal Dell: the poor-serendipitous-one-trick-pony-not-one-innovative-bone-in-his-body-microsoft-lacky-fool.

    <michael dell is the devil avatar image goes here/>

  78. Tom 7 Silver badge

    What has it got in its pocketses?

    Oh for something like the Psion that I could pop in my pocket and runs for 10 hours.

    No need for a stupid bags, just a pair of baggy shorts, tshirt and sandals.

    Oh and people to design web pages for the user not the design department wank of the month.

    Bliss.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Jaded?

    >this is *exactly* the response most people have to a netbook if they're used to a normal lappy.

    I assume this is your personal experience and not merely a supposition so I'll counter that with my own experience. I had a normal laptop, a Samsung R52?, then got a Samsung NC10 as a nice to have for when another family member was using the laptop. We still have the netbook, the laptop has been given away and a second netbook is being considered for the use that the first one was purchased for.

    @Steve Pemberton

    >except for the 6 year old, and I can only put off his complaining by telling him that he can't have one until he can read

    I apologise in advance if your 6 year old has learning difficulties but if not I find it incomprehensible that by the age of a six a child cannot read. Whether every child or family member needs their own computer is a different matter surely it makes more sense to have a smaller number of machines in a communal area, maybe a relatively powerful desktop and a number of netbooks or their netbox cousins.

  80. Christopher Martin

    Yep, an eee is my "second machine"

    And it's served gloriously for all of my portable computing needs for over a year now.

    What's your point, Mike?

  81. Chris iverson

    As has been posted 10,000 times

    I have a netbook as a second machine mainly since I would look foolish walking around with a fullsize desktop and well to power the thing.... But I've found that I use the netbook more and more for everyday stuff such as general work, email, web, posting comments on El Reg. I couldn't use it at work due to screen real estate issues as it doesn't handle 15 open windows that well. But having adobe reader, firefox, outlook, word, and IM open its runing very nicely. My desktop I have now reserved for games and when I want to watch movies on a >10" screen. Though VLC does do pretty well on this box

  82. Gaz 6
    Stop

    Netbooks can do a lot of stuff..

    Am I the only one that's getting fed with the "netbooks are for basic stuff" crowd? I have a quad core at home where I mostly game, transcode video, edit video, edit audio, edit pictures, etc. I also have a media pc hooked into my hidef tv to watch hidef movies and such. I also have a netbook running xp.

    The only thing I can't do on the netbook is transcode video, play 3d games, and watch 1080p video (720p works smooth and perfect.) Now, I can do stuff like edit standard def video, edit audio, etc but why would I want to? I can just wait till I get home and do it quicker and more comfortably on my dual monitor quad core.

    However, office 2003, visio, web surfing, email, etc. it works quick with no problems. The only problem I have personally with the netbook is the screen resolution (not the size, mind you.) The crappy resolution makes you scroll all over the place through web pages, dialog boxes, and so forth. That's the one thing that keeps me from using it more...if it had 1368x768 I would be real happy. Man I really wish they would offer a dual core atom, ION video, 10 inch, 1368x768 resolution..I would be in heaven (the ION and resolution could make some 3d games possible). Alas, Intel/Windows will forbid such a thing. A holes..

    And Michael Dell just wants more money what do you expect him to say, "nah, don't buy my $2,000 laptops, continue to buy the $300 netbooks!"

  83. Nicolas Charbonnier
    Linux

    Put larger screen in Netbooks

    95% of consumers don't care about "performance". They just want a stable and smooth browser and basic apps.

    Intel and Microsoft are blocking the use of 15" screens for netbook hardware.

    ARM and VIA are coming soon with real competition, and put Chrome OS on it, soon enough with real competition in this industry, you will get 15" ARM or VIA laptops that can run full Chrome browsers for below $200.

  84. Gil Grissum
    Grenade

    Big surprise?

    Of course Michael Dell is pooing all over the Netbook. He doesn't sell many of them and they don't make him any money, so naturally he wants to convince everyone that a high end computer is the way to go because that would make him money. His buddies at Microsoft are doing the same thing because sales of Netbooks keeps XP in play and they want us all to move to Windows 7. Both Microsoft and Dell are deluding themselves because the entire world is in the midst of a recession and that means that millions of people are not in the market for a new high end PC.

  85. Rattus Rattus
    Happy

    Really?

    I lurve my netbook, it does everything I need a laptop for. Email on the go, web access wherever I am, I have hundreds of ebooks on it and can wander the house reading while I do other things, almost as good as a real book - something that'd be far too awkward with a full-size laptop.

    I can watch movies in bed, or read in bed, again without all the space taken up by the footprint of a full size laptop. And yes, I can run games on it - Homeworld 2 or Warcraft 3 for example run great.

    I also don't have to go find a place to plug it in after a couple hours, a good six hours or more of use before my battery gets low is the norm. It's pretty amazing really - a piece of technology that actually doesn't suck!

    If I'm doing something that needs number crunching, I'll use my desktop machine with my comfy chair, ergonomic desk arrangement, etc. Why would I want to play serious games on a laptop anyway? Unless it's set up much like a desktop would be, with external monitor, keyboard, comfy chair/desk/etc then hunching over even a 17in laptop is gonna start hurting my neck and back after a little while, so why not use a cheaper yet more powerful full desktop for those times?

    Between my desktop and my netbook I have everything covered nicely - what I can't really see a need for is a normal laptop. So yeah, Michael Dell can get stuffed.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Grenade

    Get Real

    Dell should stick with something he understands. I can still remember him trying to hold forth on supercomputing as if he knew anything about that either.

  87. Kleykenb
    Grenade

    smart-phones ?!

    Netbooks may not have all the capabilities of Laptops but then one has to wonder :

    do consumers hate their smart phones after 36 hours ?

    No, when you buy a device you know what it is capable of and netbooks definately beat smart-phones at just about everything Internet related and are "as good as" Laptops at these simple tasks (browing web, email, even VoIP), while they remain far more transportable...

    The only thing a smartphone is better at is phoneing ...

    What Dell and Intel are scared off is the following equation :

    When on the road the combination of a "cheap netbook" with a "cheap phone" beats or matches the combination of an "expensive laptop" with an "expensive smartphone" at just about anything you'd want to do whilst on the road ! Especially when it comes to portability and price !

  88. jake Silver badge

    @AC 10:38; @Kleykenb

    AC opines: "Serious computing = the latest game.

    Or possible video work."

    My video editing needs are covered by an aging iMac. Games, by definition, are not serious.

    Kleykenb wonders "do consumers hate their smart phones after 36 hours ?"

    My Wife certainly does. We have a box full in the closet that she has tried and found lacking. She's currently using the Nokia 5185 that we bought ten years ago. I've never stopped using mine. I have a box full of spare-part phones that I've picked up at junk-shops, and fully intend to continue using it until the telephone company no longer supports it.

  89. Grawlix
    Thumb Down

    What a leach

    So Michael Dell *knows* his customers will have significant buyer's remorse 36 hours after he sells them a netbook...but he flogs them one anyway.

    Wonder if he's heard of Karma?

    gr@wl!x

  90. PolicyWatcher
    Stop

    Dell is wrong, and this is a non-debate.

    Look this isn't rocket science.

    When I'm going places where the size and weight of a laptop are not an issue, yes of course I prefer the laptop.

    When size and weight are more of a problem, of course I use the netbook.

    The idea that the two are somehow competing for market share is about as dumb as suggesting that an SUV competes with a mini.

  91. rick buck
    FAIL

    Dell Renigs on own products, and quafs own customers...

    If Micheal Dell was such a visionary, he would have made the Winston-Salem Dell Manufacturing Facility a little more flexible...and not just announce that the plant closure (after opening only 4 years ago) was because "the Public" does not want desktop computers, they only want laptops.

    Few IT Planners I know, think there is much difference in the facility necessary to build laptops compared to one to make desktops...

    Just shut it down, re-arrange the lines, get the vendor/inventory/delivery system schedules changed, and your up and making whatever kind of electronic devices you like.

    BUT NO... He is going to lay-off 1000 people and renege on $280 Million dollars of incentives his company received.. because we want laptops for Christmas.

    His admittance of the lower enthusiasm by the public to the performance of netbooks (that were promoted as better than a Notebook) is so flawed...As a netbook and a notebook are different in many ways.

    If he had actually used a netbook for ...oooh let us say...36 Hours... he would have seen that the netbooks are great for some things and terrible for others...EASILY.

    He has a world-class university (Wake Forest University) just down the way...he could have had a few students test some products for a few days, and they could have filled him in on what the netbooks short-commings and greatest attributes are.

    And they could probably change the floor plan of that factory to be up and running laptops in a month or two...

    Micheal Dell's Opinions Are So...Last year...Duh!

  92. jake Silver badge

    @PolicyWatcher

    "The idea that the two are somehow competing for market share is about as dumb as suggesting that an SUV competes with a mini."

    Bad simile. The general public is, as a whole, horrendously ignorant. Most of the people who buy SUVs and Minis do so for "street cred", not because they need the product. They are more about "look at me" than they are about personal transportation. In today's world, the SUV competes directly with the BMW^W Mini.

    Likewise for small form-factor computers. I mean, seriously, how sad are the idiots at the coffee house of your choice, more interested in the !FaceYouMyTweet persona that they invented in their mommy's basement than they are in the other similarly sad !FaceYouMyTweet lusers sitting around them, locked into the computer screen instead of eyeballing the singles around them, all of whom are obviously desperate for a date?

    We belong to a "I gots stuffs" society, not an "I have stuff to share" society.

    Sad, that.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Sorry - rubbish

    I have used an Asus 1000 for over a year. This has literally been around the world as well as down the bike paths of the Isar, Danube and Salzach rivers. I purchased it because I could not use a 15" monster in coach, my Company does not see why shareholders should have to pay for first class travel. Instead of being just a portable addition, it is a serious tool I can use for everything from programming to documentation.

    Needless to say one needs to run the right O/S - this runs Ubuntu.

    Perhaps Dell only caters to those who rip off the shareholders and fly first class ;-)

  94. petuniadb
    Linux

    Wrote this for this thread earlier

    Anyone who complains that a 10" screen's too small, having just bought a netbook with, er, a 10" screen should be shot as an example to others.

    The issue is low power, methinks. And that's not Dell's fault. Even running XP, your average netbook experience is dire. Add anti-spam, ant-virus, anti-malware, anti-adware, then launch a M'Soft Office package. It's now you miss your main desktop machine, be it a lappy or no. Much like this article says, here: http://kyliehorn.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/michael-dell-says-his-netbooks-are-shite-but-hes-wrong-for-once/

    I use an MSI WIND 10" as my main machine. It runs (at the moment - I'm experimenting) OpenSUSE. It's perfect for everything I do: usual online gubbins, GIMP-ing, some vector graphics stuff and web design. Michael dell wants us to buy higher end Dells: they make him more money. That's it. He should put his money where his mouth is, and either stop selling themaltogether, or sell then ONLY with, say, an Ubuntu install on them.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Low profit margin!

    Look to me like mike does not like the netbook or more like the low profit margin on them! And by the way if mike dell think nebook are too low powered mike dell should just do something about it and build the next generation of netbook!

  96. Inachu

    DELL???????

    These netbooks are great for small games and quick emails.

    If you expect to do ANY serious work on them you are then fooling yourself.

    But they are great for being a backup device when your main pc dies.

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