Netbooks: From the Third World to the Third Cloud on the Left

The story of the netbook began in 2005 with the One Laptop per Child non-profit organization. Its mission was “To create educational opportunities for the world’s poorest children by providing each child with a rugged, low-cost, low-power, connected laptop with content and software designed for collaborative, joyful, self-empowered learning.” A byproduct of this project was the creation of low cost laptop components that later found their way into the netbooks we see today.

Since then we have seen the netbook skyrocket to an almost 20% market share of the portable computer market. You would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of a netbook; however there are a lot of misconceptions as to what you should expect when buying one. In this article I will do a comparison between a netbook and your average light-weight laptop.

First things first, what’s the major differences between netbooks and laptops. Netbooks lack a DVD drive, they have smaller screens, keyboards, hard drives, and overall slower system performance. Sounds pretty bad right? Well that is until you look at the price. Most netbooks come in the $300-$400 price range, and for that you get a very small computer that is great for web applications. And that brings me to my next point; netbooks are primarily designed for web access and not much else. You won’t be watching DVDs in the car or double checking you architectural drawings with AutoCAD. You will be logging into your web service of choice and smiling at the guy next to you with his 10lb lap-crusher.
Now let’s get down to comparing these two computers. I won’t be naming brands or models because I want to keep this as a general comparison and not a review of laptop A or netbook B.

We see here that they are quite comparable, with the netbook missing a DVD drive of course.

Now that brings me to an important point. There are upgrades available for most netbooks out there. External DVD drives and memory are the most common but they come at an added cost. What it really boils down to is what you’re looking for in a portable computer. There is no use buying a netbook if it’s missing the key features you want, and more than likely it’s the DVD drive that makes or breaks a netbook sale.

So, what does this mean for the average consumer? They are a low cost portable computer for the masses. What started as a program to help children in developing nations now has the same opportunity all over the world. Imagine every student equipped with a small netbook with access to all of their class work and textbooks via the web, and being able to connect to other students and teachers 24 hours a day.

With more and more services being offered via an online portal these days it’s almost like we are going back to the roots of computer technology. A terminal was the typical way that you interacted with a computer back in the 60’s and 70’s. You would log in remotely and access data that was stored and processed in the mainframe. That’s pretty close to the way most online services work these days. Right now as you read this you are using your “terminal” to connect to the server where this article is stored. Netbooks are just another way to access the online services that you use out in the Cloud.

Yeah, that’s what we’re calling the Internet these days. What once was a web, has become so complex that “The Cloud” is a pretty descriptive name for it. The netbook is just one of the most recent “terminals” that allows us unfettered access to it.
The sales team at CIO Solutions can help shed some more light on the issue of netbooks vs. laptops, give us a call with any questions, 805-692-6700 ,
See you out in the cloud,
Ryan Popke
Technician/Shipping and Receiving
CIO Solutions