Samsung leaked memo suggests exit from netbook market

Samsung is planning to get out of the netbook market that it helped to push into the mainstream in order to concentrate on tablets and Ultrabooks, according to a leaked memo.

Although the South Korean company wasn't responsible for creating the first low-power, ultra-portable devices - that honour goes to Asus, which launched the Celeron-powered 7in Eee PC 700 back in 2007 - Samsung's well-regarded NC-series helped push the devices mainstream, offering a larger, bright display and fairly usable keyboard compared to the cramped design of the original devices.

Sadly, netbooks have been on a bit of a slide recently: the explosion in the tablet market, pushed by Apple's iPad launch, has combined with Intel's Ultrabook project to make the Atom-powered devices an unappealing prospect for many.

A leaked memo, allegedly sent by Samsung to its hardware partners and obtained by French tech site Blogeee, confirms that Samsung's feeling the pinch - and is looking to quit the market as early as next year.

"Following the introduction of our new strategy in 2012, we will stop the product range of 10.1-inch (Netbook) in Q1 2012 for the benefit of ultraportable products (11.6 and 12 inches) and Ultrabooks to be launched in 2012," the memo reads.

With Intel planning to launch new Atom chips as part of its Ivy Bridge platform upgrade early next year, it's a shame to see Samsung leaving the market - and those users who still find a use for the handbag-sized devices will doubtless worry that Samsung is merely the first of many.

Samsung has not yet responded to a request for comment on the rumour.