Posted by: kenwbudd | March 4, 2009

Babies can’t do an adult’s job

Walking by the netbook display at PC World, Media Markt and others, you’re likely to hear cooing and exclamations of how cute the little baby laptops are.

Beware, if you take one home, your new baby is not yet fully grown and it is barely on solids. It has not built up enough of the resources to do the work that a standard Momma and Poppa notebook or Laptop can do. Its got some growing to do.

Cheeky new Netbooks are just about the only thing these days that are generating any kind of excitement in the hardware market space. The visual appearance and form factor is appealing to many. The idea of having a good workhorse laptop that can carry your workload at half the size and weight is a dream, but I am sorry it has yet to come true.

With a 10-inch screen, these babies are much smaller than the standard-sized notebook, and yes, much lighter. They are also quite a bit cheaper too. Some are as inexpensive as €200, while others can get as expensive as the €1,000 range. Take note, there is a good reason why they are cheaper.

It’s hard to walk by a netbook display at a consumer electronics store without hearing someone coo-ing at them and talk about how cute they are, as if they really were little baby notebooks.

Their magnetic appeal to consumers, means that netbooks have been doing their part to boost sales and make PC manufacturers happy. If you look at the earnings report of any PC maker who makes netbooks, you’ll notice that netbook unit sales are just about the only thing growing at a healthy pace. This year other hardware sales look positively bleak, with Gartner now forecasting a decline of almost 12 percent in 2009, the worst in IT history.

Although netbook sales seem to be increasing, some in the industry say that netbooks are suffering a greater return rate than other PCs. If that is the case we can predict an increase in th enumber of netbook orphanages opening up. Netbook for sale. 1 disappointed owner!

  • On the consumer side, it’s said that once users get the machines home and play with them for a little while, they soon realize the smaller machines can’t do all the things that their more Momma and Papa (standard-sized and standard-priced) notebooks can do. The very inexpensive netbooks generally come with Linux, an well respected operating system in the techie world but still a little unfamiliar to the Microsoft masses.
  • On the enterprise side distributors say netbooks have yet to take hold.

So what’s the real story? Can that little baby PC do the big jobs you need it to do? Is there a place anywhere for the netbook in 2009? Is it a serious business contender? Consider this;

Screen size. The size really negates th eus eof Windows style operating systems because you only have space for 1 window. Do your users want to run multiple applications and have more than 1 window open at one time? Do they use spreadsheets? Well, while the netbook’s small form factor makes it convenient to tote around, but you will not be able to see everything you need to see. Certainly not at the same time and that can get very frustrating.

Storage. To save space, most netbooks are shipped with a small amount of solid state memory rather than a rotating hard drive. This makes sense in a world where memory prices are always falling and solid state, is faster and more reliable. However, many users have become accustomed to more than 100GB of memory and even in netbooks with hard drives, those users may be disappointed.

Processor performance. You would be foolish to buy a PC that isn’t dual core, at least. That is, unless your looking at a netbook. Most standard notebooks come with a dual core processor, either from Intel or AMD, but most netbooks use Intel’s Atom single core processor. Intel has said that Atom processors have about half the performance of Intel Celeron processors. Party on!

The other features you and your customers have gotten used to have also been downsized or bypassed. You can get the Microsoft Vista Premium OS on some of these notebooks, and you can buy an external DVD player and an additional external hard drive but by the time you have financed that, you could have configured a standard Momma and Poppa low-end laptop that comes with a higher-performance processor.

Some companies are coming out with some interesting new innovative netbooks, including ones with an ARM processor and a detachable keyboard, making it appear more like a tablet notebook.

In Summary. Unless you want what the netbook really is (a lightweight client that functions well in a cloud computing environment for tasks such as e-mail and Web browsing, but is not as capable of heavy lifting) you are probably better off with a standard Momma and Poppa notebook for a few euros more.

If you want something cute and cuddly around the office that can be easily picked up and taken anywhere, there are other more appropriate and interesting things.

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