Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

It’s Time We Talked About Netbooks

The word netbook is a portmanteau of the words Internet and notebook.

feature_GetitAll Netbook users typically rely on online applications and services which do not require powerful hardware on the local computer (aka “cloud computing“), such as Google Docs and Calendar.

These are not speed demon gaming rigs, media servers, or even very small laptops — what they are is lightweight and very portable. And they’re cheap (I don’t mean “flimsy” or “poorly made”). Using one, I was reminded of state-of-the-art… in the year Windows XP came out (2001).

Some (most?) netbooks do not have conventional hard, or optical disc drives. Such netbooks use solid-state storage devices instead, as these require less power and are smaller, faster, and lighter. (On machines with no optical disk drive, application software is typically downloaded from the web or read from a USB device.)

All netbooks on the market today support Wi-Fi wireless networking and many can be used on mobile telephone networks with data capability. Mobile data plans are supplied under contract in the same way as cell phones. Most also include Ethernet and/or modem ports for broadband or dial-up Internet access.

I look at netbooks as filling the gap between smart phones/PDA’s and travelbooks/”mini”-laptops, and the pundits are saying netbooks are our future. Google seems to be betting that line, and it’s new Chrome OS is aimed squarely at this segment (see Netbooks: Google’s ace in PC war with Microsoft).

Recently I have been playing with a borrowed 9″ Acer “Aspire One” ZG5 (its main competitors in the low-cost netbook market are the Asus Eee PC and the Dell Inspiron Mini 9) which has the Intel chip and Windows XP. That combo is what I would buy.

I like the screen size and brightness, and I like the light weight, and I like the keyboard (which I would guesstimate to be 3/4’s of a “regular” keyboard) as I am not skilled at typing with my thumbs on tiny QWERTY arrays with miniscule buttons — I need KEYS. The unit feels solid and sturdy. It is too big to fit in any of my pockets, though.

I think these machines do what most people – even business people – use their mobile devices for.. e-mail, browsing the Internet, and working with documents; and by “ripping” a DVD to the drive, they can also be media players too (see, Quick Tip: Movies on the plane). I think they are worth a look-see, if you haven’t “checked it out” yet.
(They might make a perfect ‘first computer’ for a child, too…)

Purchasing: As I always advise, and due to the smaller key arrangements and touchpads, this is something you definitely want to “test drive” before you buy. Make sure it “feels right” before you buy.

The future of computing? I’m not so sure. What do you think?

Today’s free link: Hacker steals Twitter’s confidential documents

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Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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July 16, 2009 - Posted by | advice, computers, gadgets, hardware, Internet, PC, Portable Computing, shopping for, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. TechPaul,

    I currently have a netbook to tote around the house and; believe it or not, to test software for my blog posts… Hmmm… I don’t know whether it is the future or not; but I will say it is the trend. I can see folks having some of these setting around their home to access the internet for news, email, etc… Nice article!

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by Ramblinrick | July 16, 2009 | Reply

    • Rick,
      As the prices on these already affordable units continues to drop.. I may get one for pretty much the same reasons. I don’t see this replacing my laptop I use for my repair biz..

      I saw the chart on Wikipedia, which pretty clearly indicates “the trend”! Explosive growth…

      You like it alright, I understand?

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | July 16, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] It’s Time We Talked About Netbooks – All Netbook users typically rely on online applications and services which do not require powerful hardware on the local computer (aka “cloud computing“), such as Google Docs and Calendar. […]

    Like

    Pingback by Tech Thoughts Daily Net News – July 17, 2009 « Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts | July 17, 2009 | Reply

  3. nice blog!

    Like

    Comment by PChulpzutphen.nl | July 26, 2009 | Reply

  4. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Like

    Comment by Megan | August 21, 2009 | Reply


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