Microsoft has gone on record to say that the term "netbook" use should be restricted and the term "low cost small notebook PC" should be used in its place. The reasoning for the abandonment is because Microsoft sees that netbooks are only good for surfing the web and that there is little distinction between small cheap laptops and netbooks.
The real reason for Microsoft wanting to rename the netbook type laptops is driven by its own definition of a "netbook". Microsoft will only license Windows 7 Starter to netbook products. Since Microsoft supposedly defines netbooks based on their hardware (no confirmation or knowledge of spec list for true definition) it would be unfair to force users to buy a full priced version of Windows 7 (Windows 7 Starter is heavily discounted) if their netbook had an extra stick of ram or a slightly beefier GPU.
The term "netbook" will not be going away anytime soon. As of right now this is simply an internal device category for Microsoft to help align its product sales. In short, Microsoft defines "netbook" by the specs of the machine rather than the size and cost of the device.
What does all this mean for the consumer? Not too much is known right now but expect the line between "netbook" and a "small cheap laptop" to now be defined by its operating system. Microsoft is expected to give a more clear understanding of its strategy today.