As much as some of the Wintel “partners” would wish small cheap computers to go away, the netbook keeps going like the Energizer Bunnytm. Shipments are down quite a bit from a year ago with all the noise about smart thingies but the netbook is beloved because it is small, cheap, portable and comes with a keyboard.
Intel has just announced an Atom processor designed for netbooks. At 1.6gHz it can be fanless but at 1.8gHz it wants a fan. In spite of 32nm technology and lots of features to reduce idle power consumption the thing must still be a hog. It uses 3.5 to 10 W while ARMed CPUs are way less than 1W per core. These gadgets are dual-core/dual-threaded. I guess Intel expects heavier batteries will do the trick…
Nevertheless, Intel sees that the netbook just will not die and wants to stay in the game. This allows M$ to keep selling licences for netbooks too even as ARM takes a hold of the market. ASUS eeePad Transformer Prime comes with a keyboard but it’s not that cheap. Smartbooks are not going away. GNU/Linux is always available to run on netbooks or smartbooks.
No, the death of netbooks is actually a continuous rebirth. The world hungers for small cheap computers, not hair-driers. Intel knows that. That’s why they were embarrassed by the success of Atom and why they are planning to crank out new versions even if they will not fly on smartphones.