Lenovo stops selling netbooks online

Lenovo is losing interest in netbooks and is instead backing tablets

Lenovo has stopped selling netbooks through its website and hasn't decided if it will start selling them again there in the future, the company said on Friday.

The netbook models that were available have sold out and are "not being replaced in the near future," Lenovo spokesman Ray Gorman said via email. He didn't say if Lenovo will continue selling netbooks at retail.

"We are having solid success with our IdeaPad Tablet K1 and IdeaPad Tablet A1, and are generating good traffic on our website for those," Gorman said.

Lenovo offered S-series netbooks with Intel's Atom processors. Its closest product to a netbook now is the ThinkPad X130e ultraportable laptop, priced from US$469 with an 11-inch screen and AMD's E-300 low-power processor.

Lenovo's decision is the latest indicator that consumers are shunning netbooks in favor of tablets and low-cost laptops. Dell has stopped offering netbooks and Hewlett-Packard and Acer have scaled back their offerings.

After a few years of resounding success, netbook sales started slowing in the second half of 2010 and have been declining ever since, said IDC analyst Jay Chou. Apple's iPad, which ignited the tablet market, went on sale in April 2010.

Netbook shipments totaled 6.3 million in the fourth quarter last year, down 29 percent, or almost a third, from the fourth quarter a year earlier. Netbooks accounted for only 6.8 percent of PC shipments in last year's fourth quarter.

All the major netbook vendors saw shipments drop in excess of 30 percent during the fourth quarter, Chou said. Lenovo's shipments dropped 43 percent.

Intel has been the driving force behind netbooks and recently introduced new Atom chips code-named Cedar Trail. The chip maker says netbook shipments have been declining in mature markets but continue to do well in emerging economies. Chou said netbooks have been doing well in parts of Latin America and Asia.

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