A few months ago, I disagreed with comments made by Acer’s founder, Stan Shih. I suggested that netbooks and ultra books would merge (or face extinction). It looks like at least some people at Acer now share the same view publicly. Their estimate is for 18-24 months from now; my original prediction would have been for about 30 months from now, but considering their new aggressive pricing strategy for ultrabooks, the disappearance of netbooks will likely sooner rather than later.
As someone that placed an order for a MacBook Air within 24 hours of its announcement, I obviously have some bias when I say that Stan Shih, founder of Acer, is misguided in saying tablets and “ultrabooks”, laptops under 0.8 inches thick with longer battery lives, are just “short-term phenomena”. Ceteris paribus, most people would probably choose a thinner, lighter laptop with longer battery life over a bulkier one with a shorter battery life. One of the selling points of laptops is their portability; ultrabooks are a natural evolution towards increasing portability.