The charge of the netbook

A while back I posted a question to LinkedIn's "Answers" about netbooks. I wanted to get a feel for what people were thinking about them in the context of business use.

I didn't receive many answers to the question, in fact I pondered afterwards if that was an indication of a general lack of awareness among business users of these machines in the first place - showing that they hadn't yet crossed over from the realm of kids, early adopters and techno geeks.

Of the few answers I did receive, there were vastly different perspectives - some dismissing netbooks as mere toys that couldn't possibly have a use within the enterprise and others already evangelizing them for their light weight and flexibility for travel and use as presentation machines.

I should mention that this was before any of the big contenders had properly entered the market place, e.g. months before the release of Dell's Mini 9 Inspiron. At that point the market was very much all about the Eee PC900 and its predecessors, the MSI Wind being the new kid on the block.

Some months later, what prompts me to write a mini-blog entry about netbooks is the clear corporate marketing of the latest offering from Asus, the Eee PC S101. As its name suggests, it's another in the Eee PC family and is very similar in spec to the Eee PC 1000.

The key though, in terms of crossing over into corporate use, is the significant step up in styling and build quality from the previous machines. Reviews have been extremely positive. The finish is slick, chocolate browns, dark greys and blacks with an immediately visible quality step up from the Eee PC 1000. Above all though, this thing is really slim and and some reviewers have even been comparing it with the MacBook Air on that basis; as well as highlighting the more solid feel compared to the earlier Eee netbooks.

Here's a pretty good review:




http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=6nUnfHE3Xj8

At this stage having owned an Eee PC 900 and an Eee PC 1000, I'm feeling a hankering to make the change to the S101 - being a small guy with a lengthy daily commute, every bit of weight and scale that can be skimmed from a laptop is a bonus for me. I have to balance that fact against the 10.2" screen that I can't do without (why I moved on from the PC 900 to the PC 1000).

So it looks like my earlier predictions about these machines were good - that they are moving very swiftly from kids' "my first PC" to the latest in corporate "must have" toys tools and I can see this market becoming even more aggressive over the next six months as we head into 2009. Machines like ​Samsung's NC10 indicates that that is already happening.

As an sidenote to this, it was with an air of disappointment that the computer industry watched Steve Jobs unveil the latest Macbook - I was sure he was going to be unveiling a Macbook Air with a screen size around 10". Don't get me wrong, I've had a poke about at the new Macbook and it's really great but I guess we'll have to wait another few months for the netbook version of the Macbook Air - at least until the Hackintosh kids have found a way around the audio hardware problems for getting OS-X running on the Eee PC, that'll save Apple's R&D department some work.


Comments

chillyspoon said…
I should have also mentioned the offerings into the netbook market from both Lenovo and Toshiba (http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/innovation/generic/Netbook-Laptops/) - what worries me about these offerings, the Samsung and the Dell is the skimping on spec compared to the machines from the "new guys" like Asus. E.g. less RAM, lack of Bluetooth and HD only options - no SSD..