ASUS slashing netbook prices as tablets take market; MSI dropping out completely?

The market obsession with tablets has left netbook manufacturers facing significant price cuts and even abandoning the segment altogether, according to channel sources. DigiTimes claims that ASUS has slashed the retail cost of its latest Atom N450 and dual-core N550 netbooks after attempts to position them based on style and specifications fell short, while MSI is tipped to be "phased out of the market" altogether.

Even operators, which for some time have been another significant outlet for netbooks as part of 3G/4G bundling deals, have apparently shifted their attentions to touchscreen devices, with large-screen smartphones and tablet PCs eating through netbook deals. Acer and ASUS are expected to be the only significant names pushing netbooks in any volume come 2011.