Jason Perlow has an interesting article over on ZDnet about how the economic crisis might spur IT innovation to save costs. He’s focused mostly on a top-down, enterprise-focused “how the heck can we afford this datacenter” perspective, but it got me thinking about netbooks.
Before long y’all are going to be as tired as my RL friends of hearing about netbooks. I’ve recently purchased an HP 2133 Mini-note, and it has completely changed how I approach using a computer. I really think these small, cheap, “under-specced” laptops are going to change computing. And it occurs to me that they might have appeared at a historically perfect moment.
The thing about netbooks is that they can be so small and cheap precisely because they don’t do as much as a “real” laptop. Now over time the definition of a real laptop has changed to the point that my writing partner’s 15” laptop has more power and better gaming performance than my desktop, but that’s beside the point. Netbooks are good enough to do about 80% of what you’d want to do with a computer. They’re great at email, surfing, light media (for instance, as I write this in Windows Live Writer, I have Outlook and Firefox open as well as tunes in Windows Media Player; works fine). In other words, they’re the perfect second or kid’s PC for most families. As long as you’ve got one big desktop in the home for the other 20% work, why would you buy anything but netbooks from then on?
As we slowly stagger into the holiday shopping season, expect to see netbooks sales skyrocket while sales of desktop and larger laptops tapers off.