Michael Dell thinks so. Sure, they're fun and light at first, he told a group of associates Tuesday. "But 36 hours later, they're saying... 'Give me my 15-inch screen back.'"
Dell says that he foresees consumer excitement swinging back around towards performance machines, especially with Windows 7 nigh. But with the new OS arriving two months too late for back-to-school shoppers and most non-nerds yawning at yet another Windows, his enthusiasm might prove sanguine. "Performance is kind of coming back," he said, asserting that people had tired of simply buying "the lowest end device."
Still, even without any major turn in consumer taste, tech companies seem to be on a recovery track; semiconductor shipments, considered a bellwether of the sector, have begun to rise. Stocks have been outperforming. If Dell can position netbooks as a second-PC offering instead of just a cheap escape from a major PC purchase, they could ride the wave. The company's Mini and Latitude 2100 lines have been well-received by consumers and schools.