Asus ditches netbooks for hybrids

Netbooks are fading away fast, another victim of the tablet craze, but Asus seems to have a cunning plan to replace them with small and inexpensive next-gen devices. 

Asus created the netbook market from scratch with its myriad of Eee PC designs, but the fad didn’t last long and, by 2010, netbook peddlers found themselves under a lot of pressure from all sides.

Asus now wants to introduce small hybrids that should take their place, both in terms of size and pricing.Asus CEO Jerry Shen says the company will roll out a 10-inch version of the Transformer Book in the second half of the year. It will be priced between $299 and $399, which is roughly Eee PC territory.  

Shen told investors that the 10-inch Transformer Book will be a good substitute for Eee PCs, reports Focus Taiwan. It should be noted that Asus is hedging its bets, as it already offers a range of 10-inch Android transformers. Additionally, Asus plans to introduce cheap Chromebook models later this year.

IHS expects notebook shipments to drop to just 3.97 million units this year and dry up completely by the end of 2014. The shift to new products comes as no surprise, although many punters expect Chromebooks to undercut Windows 8 machines in the race to replace the netbook. 

It is more than likely that cheap Chromebooks will complement small Windows 8 convertibles. Chromebooks currently start at $199, while Windows 8 machines should cost quite a bit more.