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Hardware Linux

Netbooks Have a Huge Impact On the PC Industry 416

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-can-has-netbook dept.
Xbm360 writes "A report from researcher Canalys said 13.5 million netbooks were sold globally in the 1st half of 2009. Telecom companies have several bundling deals, with about 50 operators selling netbooks. The success of netbooks also surprised Microsoft & forced them to lower the prices of their XP Home licenses, to regain marketshare over Linux."
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Netbooks Have a Huge Impact On the PC Industry

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  • by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:16PM (#29414923)

    You don't need the latest CPU or graphics chip when all you do online is watch porn.

    A netbook does fine, heck you can even hold it up with one hand while keeping the other busy!

    • by fredjh (1602699) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:20PM (#29414993)

      I wouldn't have stated it that way, but I agree... people are realizing the race for powerful chips now exceeds the necessity of most people by magnitudes; most people just want to stay in touch and have access to the web. Even the usual word processing and home finance applications, which few average-Joes actually even use anyway, don't require squat for processing.

      There was a netbook on display at Sam's Club that had a "is a netbook right for me" app running on it, so I took the test... the first question is if it was going to be your primary computer, and I said "yes," which ended the test with "this isn't powerful enough for your main computer, and the keyboard and display are too small!!!"

      When I use a laptop as my "main" computer I don't like the keyboard or display, either... both external. Same thing I'd do with a netbook. I don't see the problem.

      • by Mprx (82435) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:55PM (#29415463)
        I'm currently using a netbook as my primary computer, following hardware failure. I plugged in a real keyboard, mouse and speakers, which solves the biggest usability problem, and I'm running Ubuntu using the Maximus window manager to get the best use of the small screen. I've also customized Firefox to avoid wasted space. The biggest hardware limitation is the ram size. It's hard to go back from 4GB to 512MB. Hopefully I'll soon be back on a better computer, but the netbook is tolerable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by sconeu (64226)

          So don't go to 512MB. I replaced the 512MB in my EeePC 900 with a stock 2GB SODIMM. I also upped the 4GB SSD to 32GB.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Lord Ender (156273)

          The Atom netbooks all support 2GB RAM unless the manufacturer crippled them.

          My Samsung NC10 has 2GB RAM (after $20 upgrade). This model also has a full-sized keyboard and an 8 hour battery.

          I'm a gamer, so I need a bitchin desktop. But when I'm traveling? The NC10 is more than enough.

        • by xaxa (988988) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:18PM (#29418527)

          Unless it was your monitor that failed, why not plug that in too?

          I like my large monitor to be fully utilised, and for the small laptop screen to scroll round, so I use this command:
          xrandr --fb 1920x1200 --output VGA --mode 1920x1200 --output LVDS --mode 1024x600 --panning 1920x1200+0+0/1920x1200+0+0/512/300/512/300

      • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:31PM (#29415995)

        Indeed. People are keeping older computers longer now, and newer computers no longer require the purchase of top notch hardware to be useful. I can't remember the last time I bought anything other than the cheapest CPU Newegg offered for the motherboard I was looking to pair the chip with. For general usage there's barely any difference between the fastest chip they sell and the slowest - most home users would never tell the difference. RAM has also gotten cheap. $40 or so will buy you 4gb, which I'll not go so far as to claim is "all anyone will ever need", but realistically it's plenty enough for most desktop users. Heck 1GB is still plenty for most of them and that's been a very attainable number for nearly 10 years now.

        Truthfully, despite having upgraded my processor and ram several times in between (mainly for stuff like gaming, video encoding, source compilation, etc), for BASIC usage my newest machine, a 2.5Ghz Phenom with 4GB of RAM, doesn't really feel any faster than my old Athlon 1.2Ghz with 1GB of RAM felt. I still want my faster machine for those times when I do just need to crunch some numbers (and most of Slashdot will need the same from time to time), but for your regular old users out there, they just don't do that sort of thing, and older (or in this case smaller and cheaper) will do them just fine.

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:08PM (#29416585) Journal

          >>>People are keeping older computers longer now

          That's true. (caresses his Commodore Amiga 4000 lovingly) (just kidding). But if I was buying new I'd still want the most-or-second-most powerful CPU if only for longevity. I keep my cars 20+ years until they die, and it would be cool if I could do the same with a PC too. The Pentium 4 3000 MHz I have now is seven years and I still don't feel a need to upgrade. My AMD 500 megahertz laptop is 11 years but that's pushing it (the porn plays back in slow-motion)./

          >>>for BASIC usage my newest machine a 2.5Ghz Phenom

          You still program in BASIC? Cool. I wrote a Star Trek battle game in BASIC. It's simple but fun. ;-)

        • BASIC usage (Score:4, Funny)

          by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:11PM (#29416631) Homepage Journal

          despite having upgraded my processor and ram several times in between (mainly for stuff like gaming, video encoding, source compilation, etc), for BASIC usage my newest machine, a 2.5Ghz Phenom with 4GB of RAM, doesn't really feel any faster than my old Athlon 1.2Ghz with 1GB of RAM felt.

          Might that have something to do with feature additions in Visual Basic eating up all the gains from your faster CPU? (See Wirth's law [wikipedia.org].)

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by MBGMorden (803437)

            I know for Visual Basic 2010 you just might need those CPUS - have you tried that beta? It's so slow that it's unuseable. I know it is indeed beta, but I wouldn't have let that thing slip out into the public eye at all.

            But in general, no, I don't code much in BASIC anymore :). Mostly C and PHP these days - though I'll admit that the dark side has been calling and I've been playing a lot with Visual C# lately . . .

        • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:15PM (#29416691) Journal

          P.S.

          Apple and Microsoft are going to have a hard time surviving in the 2010s. Their business model is based-upon selling a new OS with new features like music playback (early 90s) or video playback (late 90s) or HD playback (now). These new features came-about because computers get getting faster. But what happens when users buy a Phenom machine in 2010 and are still using the same machine in 2020, and feel absolutely no need to upgrade wither the hardware or the OS? Microsoft will see its revenue shrink.

          Perhaps this is why they are trying to move to a rental model, in order to ensure they keep getting paid even if you don't upgrade.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheKidWho (705796)

            It doesn't necessarily imply that revenue will shrink, more likely growth will stagnate which is *almost* as bad and is already happening.

            • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:32PM (#29417015) Journal

              Is it? The car I drive today is basically the same as the car I drove when I was 18. About 100 horsepower, holds 5 people, has a trunk for groceries, and gets around 35 MPG. The industry has not stagnated because they learned to sell style, and encourage people to upgrade simply because the top changed.

              The PC industry needs to learn to do the same. Or else end-up just like the kitchen industry (selling appliances barely above cost).

            • by kimvette (919543) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:05PM (#29418369) Homepage Journal

              From shareholders' perspective level revenue is as bad as losing. They need to see GROWTH. The problem is Microsoft grew so huge that the only direction they can go is down. That is why they have been desperately trying to best Google (good luck with that!) and also have been vainly been trying to get into the music distribution market that Apple is enjoying huge success in, and why they are going to be opening "microsoft stores" next to every Apple store in major markets. Why? They are trying SOME way not just to delay their implosion, but to continue to grow.

          • by Crayon Kid (700279) on Tuesday September 15, 2009 @03:09AM (#29423197)

            Apple and Microsoft are going to have a hard time surviving in the 2010s.

            Not Apple. The goals of the new Apple have always been selling the hardware. That won't change, and they can bring out new stuff when they feel the need for it. The software is just the icing on the cake.

            For Microsoft, however, it's a real problem. They're selling ONLY cake frosting, and sometimes people decide they want pie or pudding instead. And they can't go into the cake, pie or pudding business because they have all these partners (OEM) already established in those areas and doing so would mean stabbing them in the back.

            Whenever they tried taking over industries this way it has happened: gaming consoles, music players, now mobile phones. If they had had a resonating success in those areas at least they would have come out with something, but they haven't. So they just decimated their former partners and destroyed their markets for nothing.

            I'm watching them fascinated, to see if they will be so stupid as to cannibalize their last standing market, the PC, and try to stab the OEMs in the back. Because they would SO abandon Windows and move to Linux. The new wave of ARM processors will show the way.

            What will stop Microsoft? Apparently, Microsoft itself. I'm amazed to see that it's not so much all the external factors but the mistakes the company does itself that mess things up for it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Cro Magnon (467622)

        There was a netbook on display at Sam's Club that had a "is a netbook right for me" app running on it, so I took the test... the first question is if it was going to be your primary computer, and I said "yes," which ended the test with "this isn't powerful enough for your main computer, and the keyboard and display are too small!!!"

        I agree that the keyboard & display are too small, both on netbook or laptop. But even a wimpy netbook is powerful enough for most tasks, except of course running Vista.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

        "this isn't powerful enough for your main computer, and the keyboard and display are too small!!!"

        Ever since processors hit 500mHz I've been telling people it doesn't matter what CPU you have, and you just need enough RAM for the OS (not minimal, but enough). It's plenty powerful for anything you want to throw at it.

        Of course, then I looked at Nero, which was dumbed-down and rewritten in Molasses. And AVG rewritten in Pitch, with extra notifications windows and a little pop-up which helpfully summarizes w

    • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:40PM (#29415267)

      Actually, an Atom N270/N280 has a pretty hard time playing back Flash video... so online porn isn't actually all that accessible on netbooks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dbet (1607261)
      Maybe, maybe not. My netbook stutters a bit on high res youtube videos, and it stutters a good deal on HD h264 videos.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by FudRucker (866063)
      if watching porn is all a customer wants then even a netbook is not necessary, just get one of those portable DVD players.

      i think netbooks fill a niche, for those that want to read a website's text and don't want all the high end audio/video media, like slashdot or other websites with news and information, plus netbooks are good for email & basic office tools (school & work environment). it dont take 3D accelerated graphics to read text but most all high resolution video (and games) require a good
    • by Rennt (582550) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:14PM (#29415749)
      Obvious is right. Consumers (me included!) had been hanging out for netbooks for at least 5 years before they actually appeared. The market was there all along, there was just no product. The fact that it took Microsoft + the collective OEM industry so long to figure it out is staggering.
  • Add a port for a SIM card and with Bluetooth support they might have something even more people would want.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TBoon (1381891)
      But that would probably "classify" them as "phones", and thus either be terribly expensive, or be bundled with rip-off phone plans. Just look at the features of the Nokia Internet Tablets (N800/N810) vs an equally feature-rich "smartphone", and you'll notice that the N810 is roughly half the price simply because it's not a top-of-the-line "phone", and therefore has to be prices according to actual specs as an ultra-mobile "computer" and not "super-fancy phone"...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        A top of the line smartphone has something like an OMAP3 with an OpenGL ES 2.0 GPU running at around 600MHz. The N800 has an OMAP2 with a fixed-function GPU and runs at around 400MHz. The N800 also lacks the hardware for communicating with the mobile network. It's not surprising that it's a lot cheaper than a modern smartphone...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Quite a few of them now have HSPA hardware and a SIM slot built in. If you walk into a high-street mobile phone shop, you'll see a few examples on sale. They're often 'free' with a two year data contract, but you can also buy them with pre-pay plans for a more reasonable total cost, especially if you're mainly using WiFi and just want the HSPA as a fall-back.
  • Warning (Score:5, Informative)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:22PM (#29415031) Homepage Journal

    TFA is one of those that have a big photo, very little text, and is continued on page 2 (of how many I don't know; I refuse to slog through sites like this).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by FlyingBishop (1293238)

      And this is what happens to people who serve big photos to Slashdot:

      Internal Server Error

      The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

      Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@itrunsonlinux.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

      More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

      Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered wh

      • Re:Warning (Score:5, Funny)

        by leromarinvit (1462031) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:14PM (#29417685)

        And this is what happens to people who serve big photos to Slashdot:

        Internal Server Error

        The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

        Please contact the server administrator, webmaster@itrunsonlinux.com and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

        More information about this error may be available in the server error log.

        Additionally, a 500 Internal Server Error error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.
        Apache/2 Server at eeepc.itrunsonlinux.com Port 80

        No, this is what happens when you run your web server on an Eee PC.

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:23PM (#29415041) Homepage

    I bought a 9" model with linux earlier this year.
    Soon after, the linux models dried up, then the prices rose and the screen size crept up.

    I should have bought 6 at Jan 2009 price. Baring a change of architecture which increases the battery life 5 fold, I conciser it to be perfect.
    It doesn't need any more power because it does everything that I want from a computer the size of a hardback book.

    • by Rudeboy777 (214749) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:34PM (#29416047)

      Seconded - I don't know if the model you bought was the Dell Inspiron Mini 9, but I bought this in March/09 and the went EOL shortly after. A contact in the industry (very large national reseller) says there is a concerted effort coming from OEMs and Intel to bump up screen size, features, but most importantly *PRICE* on netbooks and this very much appears to be taking place looking at today's offerings compared to what was available at the start of the year.

      Seems the early Atom netbooks (as opposed to the earlier Asus eeePC with a Celeron CPU) did a little *TOO* good a job of providing everything you need for $300 or less.

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:09PM (#29420407) Homepage Journal

      Dell still sells them. They've been moved over to the small business website, and rebranded the Dell Vostro A90

      http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-vostro-a90 [dell.com]

      $239 for an Ubuntu model.

  • by mprindle (198799) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:26PM (#29415071)

    I have talked to several people that own or have owned netbooks. Most of the people don't like them. One person in general got a netbook from there husband. He got it since it was the cheapest thing he could buy. She hates it with a passion, but it does sorta what she wants just slowly. If I had to guess this type of story could be repeated over and over again. It was the cheapest thing so it was purchased even though the person that actually has to use it doesn't like it.

    • by swanzilla (1458281) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:43PM (#29415303) Homepage

      One person in general got a netbook from there husband.

      I don't even know where to begin with this sentence...

    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:45PM (#29415323)

      So, all this means is: try it before you buy it. Many retail stores have display models of netbooks these days. Try using it before you spend $300+ on it. I tried three models before getting one for my sister. On one, I could not type more than a few words on the keyboard without hitting the enter key, which was in a weird spot... or something like that. On another, it didn't look too great. I settled for the third. The touchpad buttons are too stiff, but other than that it's been working great. Would *I* want to use one? No, not personally.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kokuyo (549451)

      Your post is full of nothing (the atrocious spelling aside...).

      Without knowing what it is that this women tries to do with her netbook, it's pretty hard to judge whether it's the netbook's fault or the husband's for being a cheap bastard.

      Sure, if she's surfing the net over wifi in her garden with several sturdy walls between her and the AP, then the netbook obviously will be slow. If she tries to play games, it's going to be way too slow.

      So without giving any stats concerning the hardware and the use to whi

    • by WillKemp (1338605)

      That probably depends a lot on which netbook it is. I just got a Samsung N140 and installed Fedora 11 on it and increased the RAM to 2GB. For most things i use it for (including web development, apache and mysql, and running XP in a virtual machine), it's not noticeably much slower than my Core 2 duo Thinkpad with 4GB RAM.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      That depends greatly upon what you're planning to use it for. If you're actually using it for the ability to do low intensity work far away from the home or the office, then it's not so bad. But idiots that buy them as a replacement for a proper desktop or laptop have no business bad mouthing them.

      Personally, I'm getting one, mainly for a bit of email and net access away from my desktop, and the ability to use it for shell access when I don't want to go down stairs to check on the machine. I wouldn't per
      • Exactly, a netbook is not a cheap laptop, it was never intended to be. If you buy one expecting it to be, you're gonna be disappointed. The question for me comes down to how you came by that conclusion. Did you decide for yourself or did the sales staff decide to sell you the cheapest "PC" they had even though they knew it wasn't suitable just to make the sale? Many people falling prey to these sales people and stores will be unhappy with their purchases. This is a large part of the reason why netbooks are
    • Thanks for your statistically irrelevant anecdote from One Person in General. Sounds very convincing. Please don't repeat over and over. Thanks.

      (Currently written from my netbook, which I love dearly)

    • by Abreu (173023)

      I know of two people who were unhappy with their netbooks, but after a couple of questions, it became clear that they were unhappy with Windows XP's performance in that hardware.

      I showed them my Ubuntu Netbook remix netbook and they were impressed. One of them even switched.

      I think people have forgotten how slow and unwieldy XP was when a mid-tier computer had specs similar to today's "low-powered" netbooks...

    • by Trifthen (40989) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:03PM (#29415573) Homepage

      Personally, I love mine. But I did a ton of research instead of just buying the cheapest netbook out there. My Samsung NC10 was known as one of the best, and I spruced it up by adding a 64GB OCZ Vertex SSD and a draft-n wireless card.

      And the thing is, I actually sold my beautiful (and ridiculously powerful) Asus G1 because I noticed I was using the netbook for everything. I ride the train every morning and every night as a commute, and really the netbook is perfect for on-the-go computing. I can do my pylons development, whip up some satire, or anything else. Ubuntu and Compiz work fine on here, so why not? Still get my six hours of battery life, so I'll be the last to complain. It's all the computer I need, and I'm something of a minimalist.

      If they could increase the screen resolution to have greater height and decrease the thickness, I'd say they'll have hit the sweet spot for commuters. 2.8 pounds and 10" have no problem just being stuffed in any bag, and I think that's where they really win. No need for a dedicated backpack, or case, or laptop tote... just stuff it in a bag with the rest of your stuff, and go.

      I used to only build dual-CPU rigs, then I moved on to laptops only, and now I'm a huge fan of netbooks. Not sure where they'll go after this, but I know what my next upgrade will be.

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      I have talked to several people that own or have owned netbooks. Most of the people don't like them. One person in general got a netbook from there husband. He got it since it was the cheapest thing he could buy. She hates it with a passion, but it does sorta what she wants just slowly. If I had to guess this type of story could be repeated over and over again. It was the cheapest thing so it was purchased even though the person that actually has to use it doesn't like it.

      It's comments like these and an abo

    • You need to tell us why the person didn't like it.

      I wouldn't mind buying one, but fear my hands will be too big.

      However, for my kids - who arleady use 100% Linux - they'd be great.
  • Kind of obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:28PM (#29415109) Homepage

    So we have a story about a press release about a report by some unknown company. Big deal.

    This is an important subject, though. The big issues are 1) will "netbooks" wipe out the notebook industry, 2) will "netbooks" become slaves to mobile phone companies, like handsets, 3) will Microsoft succeed in enforcing their ceiling on how powerful a netbook can get. The story addresses none of those issues.

    The fascinating thing, and one that cries out for some good journalism, is how effectively Microsoft squashed the Linux netbook industry. The first netbooks all ran Linux. Eighteen months later, it's very hard to buy a Linux netbook. How did Microsoft get Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers to pay for a OS when they had successful products with a free one?

    • Re:Kind of obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:36PM (#29415205)

      Technology doesn't move technology, the market does. People wanted windows xp on their netbooks and they got it.

      • Re:Kind of obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:31PM (#29416005) Homepage

        No. Microsoft can't tolerate competitors. So they stopped
        trying to IGNORE the product that people wanted. This
        product was cheap small laptops. XP really had nothing to
        do with it. Once netbooks took off, it was just another
        market segment that Microsoft could muscle into.

        They used XP because it was the only thing they had that fit.

        Like always they were "last to the party". So their current
        product was woefully inappropriate.

        Linux alters the power dynamic of the OEM+Microsoft relationship a bit.

        • Re:Kind of obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheKidWho (705796) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:46PM (#29416199)

          And the reason XP netbooks are selling significantly better than Linux netbooks is because Microsoft held consumers at a gunpoint and forced them to.

          Right.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Blakey Rat (99501)

          First of all, this isn't 1986. For CHRIST'S SAKE, and on behalf of all Slashdotters, please type an entire paragraph before hitting "enter."

          No. Microsoft can't tolerate competitors. So they stopped
          trying to IGNORE the product that people wanted. This
          product was cheap small laptops. XP really had nothing to
          do with it. Once netbooks took off, it was just another
          market segment that Microsoft could muscle into.

          Microsoft wasn't *trying* to ignore netbooks, that's a ridiculous statement. Microsoft was caught-by-s

    • by timeOday (582209)

      This is an important subject, though. The big issues are 1) will "netbooks" wipe out the notebook industry, 2) will "netbooks" become slaves to mobile phone companies, like handsets

      I think miniaturisation and price reductions will continue, and netbooks are, at most, a minor milestone in that ongoing process. The migrations from mainframes to minis, from minis to desktops, and desktops to laptops were all more significant. Each shook up the industry, but progressively less so, since no generation comple

    • Re:Kind of obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:19PM (#29415813) Journal

      How did Microsoft get Chinese consumer electronics manufacturers to pay for a OS when they had successful products with a free one?

      Very easily. An OEM install of XP costs around $45. This is a lot when you are aiming for a $200 RRP; it's over 25% of the wholesale cost. Microsoft introduced a $15 license that is only valid for machines with specifications below a certain ceiling. I can't remember exactly what these are, but you can find them if you Google (single-core CPU with a maximum speed, 160GB hard disk or smaller SSD, 1GB RAM and so on). Linux isn't free, once you factor in the cost of producing a custom version tailored for your device, and so the cost savings are probably closer to $10, and 'runs Windows' is worth $10 to the average consumer so the manufacturers went this route. Expect this to change with the ARM-based devices, which are expected to be much cheaper and (obviously) won't run Windows. It remains to be seen whether they will sell well.

  • by mindbrane (1548037) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:29PM (#29415115) Journal
    My Aspire One running ubuntu is just great thanks. Cost me 250 loonies. Best of all, it's 8" screen means I can manipulate it almost like a medium sized book. I can kick back on the couch, at a table, on the subway, where ever and twist and turn it as needed. I stick with the SSD drive because I it affords me even less worry about jostling it around. With wifi and 10/100 built in, how could anyone go without one. $250 bucks, you can't afford not to own one. Best tech toy to come down the pike ever.
    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      mod parent up. Same here ( 8.9'' AA1, 8GB SSD, running currently Linux Mint Gloria and tentatively the Awesome windows Manager) I can use it as an e-book reader (albeit a slightly heavy one), I can go online, I can code, do some 3D modeling with Blender, do some audio work with Audigy, use its webcam to take pictures or movies, retrieve photos from MMCs and so on, watch movies ... and it 's so small and light that I just have it with me all the time. Apart from the battery-life which could be better, it's
    • by Abreu (173023)

      I would also like to recommend the Acer Aspire One. Once you install it with Ubuntu Netbook remix, it is the perfect machine for browsing the net and doing some light work.

      I also use it on my D&D sessions as a sound recorder and note-taker.

      The only thing I would change in it (please netbook manufacturers take note!) would be to allow the screen to turn and cover the keyboard, so its easier to use as an ebook.

  • Huge Impact? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:35PM (#29415191) Homepage

    So.. netbooks are about 10% of pc sales and carry a margin of next to zero. They are a niche product for those who want a small device for convenience and will see growth stunted as the eekonomy recovers as those who couldn't afford a desk top replacement laptop abandon the cheap netbook segment for low/mid end full sized/powered laptops.

    • Re:Huge Impact? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Aeron65432 (805385) <agiamba@@@gmail...com> on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:27PM (#29415931) Homepage
      Wrong, wrong wrong. It's been mentioned many times that netbooks are compliments to desktops, not substitutes. It isn't certain if netbooks cannibalize laptop sales. (I have both, they are used for different reasons) But it is pretty certain that netbooks are a secondary computer, not a primary one. No one buys a netbook because of its cost, they are purchased because of their size, convenience, battery life, etc.
  • I never thought I would buy a low powered, limited usefulness netbook. But with prices having fallen under $300, this makes these devices quite appealing as a second/third computer, or just as a plaything.
    I ordered mine on Saturday.
  • Ummm... what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Petersko (564140) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:41PM (#29415289)
    "The succes of Netbooks also surprised Microsoft & forced them to lower the prices of their XP home licenses, ro regain marketshare over Linux."

    It is our hope that one day linux apps will be advanced enough to include a spelling checker.

    Also... "Citation Needed".

    "According to the latest predictions global notebook shipements are expected to reach 200 million units in 2010, of which, netbooks will account for 25%, or 50 million units."

    You know, I'd expect at least a couple of these words to be a hyperlink to some source that actually shows who predicted it, or how they arrived at the numbers, but there's nothing.

    Who approved this article? Has the bar really dropped this low?
    • Most of them are based on the Intel Atom processor. I wonder if intel's securities report has sales numbers. Darn the reports I used to find free online are now subscription. Anybody subscribe to EDGAR Online and willing to look it up?

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:45PM (#29415331)

    When Microsoft was pushing Vista one of the things that they claimed was that the number of available XP product keys had become exhausted. Due to this they decided to remove the SKU from OEM vendors and other retailers, and set support services end dates. Their claim was that since they couldn't issue any more XP product keys you needed to upgrade to Vista instead.

    Linux had begun a fast rise in the netbook market and this alarmed Microsoft to the degree that they decided to issue more product keys. This should have negated their argument about the necessity of upgrading to Vista.

    There were questions that Microsoft had manufacturers modify the bios of their new models to exclude necessary information that allowed the installation of drivers for hardware (on computer models, not necessarily including the netbooks). This came out in a number of articles and in one case someone showed that the bios of certain machines had some important tables removed pertaining to Linux, making it difficult to install, etc.

    The netbook back at the start of this had a large growing population of women in the 45+ range that had never used Linux before but had become users by virtue of it. Many found it to be just fine for what they were doing with it (browsing the web, writing email, watching videos, playing music, using it for programs like skype to communicate, etc). Since these books had Linux pre-installed by the manufacturer there was no need for them to configure drivers, hardware, to install more software, etc.

    Microsoft's reaction was to reissue XP product keys and then to set some limits on what the netbook hardware could do. For instance, they limited the amount of ram to 1 gig. They limited the onboard graphics to a certain subset, they limited the hard disk capacity to 160 gig, they limited the display size which also limits the keyboard size. The prohibited the netbook from having a CD/DVD drive. They limited the processor type and speed, they limit the number of USB ports to 3, etc.

    Under Linux these limitations don't exist and that is probably a good part of the reason that Dell has chosen to produce some Linux netbooks with some oomph. These limits are only on XP based netbooks whereas the Linux netbooks can be much more powerful if the manufacturer wishes it. It doesn't mean that they will push the power of them, it just means that it is not necessary that they take these considerations in to account.

    The OEMs account for the vast majority of netbooks sold. It doesn't mean that you can't purchase one from these OEMs and then upgrade it yourself. If a netbook has a USB port then you can an external drive or DVD/CD burner. You can also add more RAM and a larger HDD if you are willing to tear one of those things apart, and it can be difficult for some models.

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Why would you need a CD/DVD-rom when you have USB stick and fast Internet?

      1GB of RAM is more then enough, all you need to do is to make sure you OS is bloatware free.
      • Why would you need a CD/DVD-rom when you have USB stick and fast Internet?

        Wrong question. The question should be (forgetting the grammatical errors in the OP), "Why would you want a CD/DVD-rom when you have USB stck and fast Internet?" The answer is, "None of your business, if I want it, I should be able to get it (assuming I'm willing to pay what it costs to add it in)." I can think of many reasons why someone might want a CD/DVD-ROM in a netbook (not all of them good).

      • by HermMunster (972336) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:22PM (#29415867)

        That's not a wise question.

        First, no one said that 1 gig wasn't enough, yet there are plenty of people that do want more as part of the base unit, and there are those that do add more to these netbooks.

        The USB stick is insufficient for performing many tasks. You need a CD/DVD or you can't install a lot of commercial software. Flash memory, though growing in capacity and lowering in price, isn't fool proof and is still much more costly than purchasing CD/DVDs for back up. Most thumb flash drives don't have the capacity to back up all our data. Purchasing lots of flash thumb drives can and will add to confusion. You can't play your store-bought CDs though your flash drive without a CD/DVD first used to rip the music. Not everyone wishes to purchase music on-line.

        Adding more RAM doesn't equate to bloatware. Adding a CD/DVD doesn't equate to bloatware. Installation of end-user applications doesn't equate to bloatware, at least from the perspective of the OS.

        The purpose behind Microsoft's limitations was to make the netbooks less attractive and to push users to the higher prices notebook models where Microsoft's margins are higher.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jasonwc (939262)
          I have a 14.1" 16:9 widescreen laptop with a 2.1 Ghz C2D, 4 GB of RAM and would actually prefer if my laptop didn't have a DVD drive. I've only used the drive once - to install Windows 7 Ultimate. In fact, when I need to install software from a DVD, I tend to use a 20x external DVD/4x Blu-Ray USB DVD drive as it's considerably faster and quieter than my internal drive. And this is a full-powered laptop.

          Optical drives add weight and if placed inappropriately can lead to accidental openings which are both ann
  • Tablet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jekewa (751500) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:49PM (#29415381) Homepage Journal
    I like the idea of the portability of netbooks, sacrificing power for size and battery life, but would still like to see a good one that can (at least optionally) go without a keyboard. Gimme a nice size (sheet-of-paper is fine), outdoor readable, finger-touchable display with some USB and/or bluetooth keyboard support with that all-day battery, and close to (if not passing) gigahertz performance. If done right, I can add my own storage (USB, flash, whatever) as well as attach to network storage (NFS, SSHFS, FTP...). Sure, there are tablet PCs out there, but they all cost $2K or have tiny displays.
  • ... coming soon to a Craig's list near you.

    I think most people are disappointed when they see how slow they are.
    But, they're great for light use & travel.

    I would have bought one myself but I have a lot of old (and small) laptops lying around and I didn't notice any huge performance boost with the new netbooks I've played with.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PPH (736903)

      I think most people are disappointed when they see how slow they are.

      Well, I have an Eee PC with a 1GHz processor. It seems to run apps about as fast as other 1GHz systems I've seen. I've got Eclipse, a CAD system plus some other 'heavy duty' applications on it and it seems to do just fine.

      What OS are you running on your 'slow' netbook?

  • If there are enough bundling deals, then the American telcos wills begin to have the same stranglehold on the manufacturers that they have in the cell phone industry. We'll have crippled, locked devices and frightened manufacturers.

    They can still ruin this thing. Give them a year or so. Have faith.

  • by Viewsonic (584922) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:00PM (#29415551)
    One of the main selling points for Netbooks was that they were tiny, and could fit in your purse, shoulder bag, or carry-on bag and be taken with you on trips and vacations to check emails, update your facespace, dump camera images to upload, and basically simple tasks that you might want to do when away from home and your main PC and not have to carry a real bulky laptop around with you. Unfortunately, the new "netbooks" are as big as laptops these days, which defeats the entire idea behind them. Instead of making them SMALLER, they are going the opposite direction. By now we should have netbooks with 3" screens that go in your pocket that complete with smartphones and devices like the ipod touch. A budget OQO, basically. To me, netbooks should not be considered a netbook if the screen is larger than 8". Anything bigger and you're in portable laptop territory, regardless of processor speed.
    • by Shados (741919)

      The problem I think is the extreme popularity of 13 inch macbook, which make laptop makers drool over that market.

      The "netbook" that interested me the most is the Sony Vaio Serie P, because of how small it is, but its overpowered for what I need it for, and the price follows. If other manufacturers made something like that with less juice and a smaller price tag, I'd be quite interested.

  • Ampersand (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Strange use of an ampersand, indeed.
    My learning for today: until the 1900's "&" was the 27th letter of the alphabet!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampersand#History

  • by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:15PM (#29415759)

    The success of Netbooks also surprised Microsoft

    The success of {GUIs | LANs | The Internet | online music/iTunes/MP3 players | Netbooks | every other major advance} has surprised Microsoft. That company has always been more reactive than proactive. Of course, they can afford to be, which gives rise to their rather conservative approach to entering new markets.

  • by elliott666 (447115) on Monday September 14, 2009 @01:24PM (#29415899)

    I'm on my third netbook now since they came around, and the second running OSX perfectly. OSX on the Dell Mini 10v with a SSD is really fast and works perfectly. It's a really nice machine to have in addition to another 'real' computer.

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