The iPad Has Killed The Netbook, But HP Didn’t Get That Memo

The iPad Has Killed The Netbook, But HP Didn’t Get That Memo

HP bucks Intel, announces line including AMD chips and netbook pricing.

Even as the iPad continues to slowly strangle the life out of the netbook market, HP is determined to rebrand that small, inexpensive laptop category while also breaking away from Intel’s MacBook Air-like ultrabook standard. Calling the new line of laptops “sleekbooks,” HP is repudiating Intel’s ultrabook requirements and cozying up with Intel’s longtime rival AMD.

The new sleekbook devices were announced along with new ultrabook models in HP’s Envy line. The new sleekbooks aim to strike a balance somewhere between Intel’s rigid ultrabook specs and the netbook ideal of minimal, low-cost notebooks.

Intel developed the ultrabook platform as a response to the success of Apple’s MacBook Air, a device so attractive that some businesses have bought them simply to use as Windows laptops courtesy of Apple’s Boot Camp.

PC manufacturers have complained about the stringent price and feature requirements that Intel insists on if thin and light laptops are to carry the ultrabook name. Meeting those requirements strains profit margins for many PC makers and Intel has even been accused of subsidizing laptops to ensure they meet the standard and can compete against the MacBook Air. As a result of Intel’s focus, ultrabooks have forced manufacturers into direct competition with Apple but without the lean product supply line and economies of scale that Tim Cook created as Apple’s Chief Operations Officer.

Although paying lip service to Intel’s ultrabook model, the new sleekbooks show HP is more than willing to attempt to revive the netbook – as part of its new lineup. HP is even willing to ditch Intel in some of its new products and go with rival AMD’s latest processor families.

The sleekbooks haven’t quite matched the bargain basement pricing of many netbooks, however, with the lineup starting at $599. That’s $150 lower than entry level ultrabooks, but it’s also dead center in the iPad’s range of price points. In fact, it’s on par with with the cost of a 16GB new iPad and keyboard case.

Regardless of whether the new sleekbooks are a success for HP, they definitely highlight cracks in Intel’s ultrabook strategy of developing a range of MacBook Air competitors.

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  • Charles Lowndes

    Looks Ok to me, now if I could just get it to run Lion on them AMD chips…

  • Boris Terekidi

    I have tons of Apple products (MBP, iMAC, ATV 2gen, iPad 3gen, iP4, a few iPods) – so consider me a fanboy :)

    However, looking at this computer (and the price) – I wouldn’t mind grabbing one. It actually looks pretty nice (and the price is even better).
    If there is a way to install OSX on it, that would be sweet. Otherwise – Linux Mint :)
  • mr_bee

    These “sleekbooks” are pretty obviously not netbooks or the same form factor as netbooks at all.  You even disucss this in the body of your own article.  

    “sleekbooks” are the AMD/HP branded equivalent of “ultrabooks” which are based on MacBook Airs.  
    None of these three types of computers are “netbooks.”
  • vctr

    I get that you guys are an Apple centric website, but why do you have to always write condescendingly about Apple’s competitors? Its really weird.

  • Adrian Werner

    The only explanation for the content of this article is that it’s author has never seen a netbook in his life, or even read about one online

About the author

Ryan FaasRyan Faas is a technology journalist and consultant living in upstate New York who has written extensively about Apple, business and enterprise IT, and the mobile industry. In addition to writing for Cult of Mac, he is a contributor to Computerworld, InformIT, and Peachpit Press. In a previous existence he was a healthcare IT director as well as a systems and network administrator. Follow Ryan on Twitter and Google +

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