Netbooks (formerly know as Ultra mobiles PCs) became a major technology trend in late 2007 starting with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and the Asus Eee Pcs. The original Intel Atom processor had the ability to provide enough power for a inexpensive, portable computer. However, it’s 3 years later and people have become more dependent on their computers and more mobile. Some people (like me) just use their netbooks for taking notes and some web browsing. While others use their netbooks as their computer when they are on the move and need more power out of them.
Personally, my netbook is only used when I am in class and before classes. Otherwise it sits in a drawer and is never used on weekends. My feeling is that for my uses of a netbook, I would be able to replace it with an iPad or other tablet device (possibly with a bluetooth keyboard), especially now that the iPad has the key feature of multi-tasking. The iPad is much more portable and has all the apps I know and love on my iPod Touch. It also gets vastly better battery life and has better synchronization both of applications and data. It also is really fast, my netbook is sluggish at times which I attribute to both the hardware as well as it running Windows XP. I have tried several “netbook editions” of Linux but, there are a lot of compatibility issues. The iPad is also thinner and more portable than a netbook. I also can see myself using the iPad outside of the classroom a lot more because of all the great applications available through the app store.
For those who need a more powerful portable computer, they should take a look at the lightweight computers. The best example of this is the Macbook Air but, there are also Windows alternatives like my friend Michael Plasmeier’s Lenovo U350. These computers are double the price most netbooks but, they provide a full computing experience and full powered computer operating system. These computers might not be the the fastest, but they are powerful enough to get most things dones when you are traveling.
Although Google is just releasing their first Chrome OS netbook, I think more people will opt for the either the portable full-featured computer or a tablet like an iPad instead of the netbook. They may be more expensive but, they deliver more features, and power and most importantly, more portability.