Intel VP: Netbooks not for adults

Remember those first 7-inch Asus Eee PCs advertised with kids tapping on chicklet keyboards? Well, Intel apparently wants us to return to those Netbook glory days.
In short, Netbooks are not for adults, according to Anand Chandrasekher, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Ultra Mobility Group, speaking during a keynote speech at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing, streamed on Intel's Web site.

"There are things that you would do on a notebook you wouldn't dream of doing on a Netbook...For a kid, a Netbook is fantastic, as an adult you probably want a notebook. So, there are very simple ways of positioning and thinking about it."

(Hmm...what about all those big people with Netbooks? I guess it's time to trade it in for a grown-up computer.)

Now, contrast this with what Stu Pann, vice president in Intel's sales and marketing group, said back in November of last year at a Raymond James IT Supply Chain Conference.

"We originally thought Netbooks would be for emerging markets and younger kids, and there is some of that. It turns out the bulk of the Netbooks sold today are in Western Europe, North America, and for people who just want to grab and go with a notebook," Pann said.

And Pann added: "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size--it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."

What Intel may be doing now is trying to reposition the Atom-processor-based Netbook so it doesn't cannibalize the more lucrative notebook market. This strategy may get a boost when Intel offers ultra-low voltage (ULV) Core 2 mobile processors later this year for ultra-thin notebooks, priced roughly between $500 and $1,000. (AMD is already offering its Neo processor--which is the chip inside the HP Pavilion dv2--for this market.)

But is the Netbook tsunami something Intel really wants to tamper with? Acer just announced an 11.6-inch Aspire One with a 160GB hard disk drive. Is this a Netbook? That's what everyone is calling it. And HP continues to build its Netbook portfolio along with Dell and Asus.

BY Brooke Crothers

Brooke Crothers is a former editor at large at CNET, and has been an editor for the Asian weekly version of the Wall Street Journal. He writes for the CNET Blog Network, and is not a current employee of CNET. Contact him at Disclosure.

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