Dec. 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM ET
In what could signal the beginning of the end for netbooks, it looks like Dell is pulling away from them and shifting focus to a thinner, more powerful line of laptops, according to a statement from the manufacturer.
Matthew Hutchison, director of Dell Global Consumer PR, told CNET that the company is moving in the direction of "highly portable space" and focusing on "delivering thin + powerful solutions" like the XPS 14Z and XPS 15Z.
Checking out Dell's site for the Inspiron Mini line, none of the models come up after clicking "Check Price." All that appears are messages about it not being in the inventory:
That goes for all three Inspiron Mini models: 1012, 1018 and 9.
Acer looks like it's still going strong with its line of netbooks, though having had one that went kaput after about a year, I can see why others might want to jump ship. Will Dell's move be the beginning of the end of the netbook?
It's not like we haven't seen this coming. In October, more tablets than netbooks shipped to consumers, signaling a tipping point to industry watchers that the end was nigh for the mini laptops. Once the hot must-have for business travelers and coffee shop surfers alike, the netbooks started to fade into the background once super thin laptops like the MacBook Air (and now, the Ultrabooks) and then tablets stormed onto the market, and right into the hands of eager users.
We've reached out to Dell and we'll let you know what they say if and when they get back to us.