Has the Nettop lost its charm and power?

Since early this year, we have not heard nor seen any new nettops announced locally. After the craze on netbooks several years ago, companies like Intel were banking on nettops as the next major market.

Manufacturers like Asus, Acer, Dell, Asrock and MSI all did their own version of the nettop.

Dell made that sexy Studio Hybrid back in 2008, Acer had the AspireRevo, MSI had the WindTop and Asus produced a line of Eee Box.

We even tried this Bluray-touting nettop from Asrock.

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The nettop proposition was simple — cheap, low-power desktop computing with a very small footprint. It’s also sometimes referred to as an HTPC (home theater PC) since some configurations have the capabilities of full HD playback (mostly thanks to the NVidia Ion chipset).

Looks like that promise did not pan out. I have a couple of ideas why the nettop category did not fly:

  • Savings on low power-consumption is hard to explain to consumers. While typical desktop PCs might consume between 100 to 150 watts, nettops promised a much lower consumption rate of between 20 to 35 watts. When translated to real-world savings, it’s somewhere around Php300 in electric bill savings per month for an average of 12 hours a day of use.
  • Decent to average processing power from nettop processors also restricted the kind of activities you can do with them. Mostly internet surfing, P2P services and probably HD movie playback (for HTPCs). No serious PC gaming involved. Internet cafes would not use them because of the obvious drawbacks. It’s not just the CPU but mostly the accompanying GPU.
  • It wasn’t as cheap as it’s supposed to be. Intel was gunning for $100 to $300 for each box but most of the nettops that came out in 2008 and 2009 were priced between $300 to $500. That same amount could get you a decent gaming PC so why settle for a nettop?
  • The netbooks were rapidly invading the price category of the nettop and sometimes, it’s even cheaper. Again, why settle for a nettop when you can get a similarly-specced netbook for the same or lower price?

The last nettop-specific processor that Intel produced was the Atom D525 and that was more than a year ago (released June 2010). I guess that spells it for this PC category.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

12 Responses

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  2. I think it’s fair to say the NetTop is now resigned forever to the shelves of the computer museum.

  3. Ansel B Mano says:

    The government should be adopting this package especially front liners and those working with simple spreadsheets and word processing, a space saver, cheaper and for green computing.

  4. Shakey says:

    “The netbooks were rapidly invading the price category of the nettop and sometimes, it’s even cheaper. Again, why settle for a nettop when you can get a similarly-specced netbook for the same or lower price?”

    +1 on this! And with a nettop you still need to buy a separate monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

  5. mig says:

    it hasn’t lost its charm/ power. above anything else, it’s EXPENSIVE! if it’s around the $100 price point, then it would really sell as an HTPC, especially for people who torrent.

    this would be sleeker than other alternatives such as popcorn hour, etc. because of customizability: XBMC, among others.

    for the same price you can get a decent gaming pc na e. PRICE CUT!

  6. Les says:

    This one at 9,000 Php has an appeal for me:


    • razorous says:

      Superb specs! AMD Fusion + USB 3.0!!!! Were in PI do I get this??

      The prob with Internet TV’s is its lack of supported file formats (That is, with our Sony Bravia)

  7. Benchmark says:

    Probably in the right time where the world is in short of electricity and we all have to limit our usage.

    I remember way back 2008 (I think), Motorola Rokr E6 was not that a hit…it a first full touch screen phone. It was said that Apple and Motorola tied up for this technology…there is also a point where Motorola E398 has this iTunes on it. But it was not fully accepted by the people.

    Well now, people are all in craze and gaga over touch screen phones. :-)

    Probably its just the timing of release…or Marketing perhaps. :)

  8. Name: IC DeaDPiPoL says:

    I’m guessing it was less popular solution due to the latter mid-high end flat-screen tv comes with their own browser and enough processing power to playback 1080p videos with a variety of support for containers and codecs on their own as long as its attached to a NAS or an external storage.

    Nettop as a download/seed box also competes with routers that have provisions for attaching external HDD turning it into a NAS and Download/Seed box at the same time.

  9. Arhen says:

    Sir Abe, please read my email to you. Thank you. Please delete this comment if you’ve already received it. :)

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