Tiny Giants: Netbooks and Personal Computing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Somewhere between a smartphone and a laptop is a nifty gadget called a netbook. It allows you to get online, but has no hard drive so it's ultra-portable. These lightweight internet-only devices have been around since 2007, but are getting more attention as both Google and Microsoft unveil new programs designed specifically for netbooks. Joining us now to talk about why the netbook is so popular, and where it fits in among all the other gadgets out there, is Matt Buchanan, contributing editor for the blog Gizmodo.com.


Matt Buchanan

Hosted by:

Farai Chideya

Comments [3]


As is often the case, the hosts had a pre-conceived notion and bullied the guest into agreeing with their ridiculous argument that the fastest growing PC segment was centered on somehow useless devices.

Jul. 22 2009 07:01 AM
Judy Shapiro

I fundamentally disagree with Matt’s assessment that netbooks are a weaker PC and not as useful as the new supped up mobile phones.

I think Netbooks represent a new class of device that will increase in popularity. I understand why a “gadget” guy would “dis” these devices because functionally, it has less “chatchkas” (Yiddish for features) than a smaller PC. But in my mind, Matt’s POV omits the human element. In life, sometimes a well crafted “paring knife” is the perfect answer.

Here is an article in Ad age that hits the point. The article is entitled; “Why Netbooks Are the Paring Knives of the Technology World” http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=137163

Jul. 16 2009 01:05 PM

Netbooks are great both In and OUT of the 'Cloud'.
I bought my netbook for portability and accessiblity. Mine weighs about 2 lbs and has built-in webcam, wifi and bluetooth. Great for cloud computing. But netbooks are also great to use offline. You can connect an external drive to load software applications*. (*licensed software only of course!)
I brought the original CDs with the office applications I use to the dealer where I bought the netbook and they loaded it all up for me. That way I can work wherever I want - online or offline. My netbook has 80 GB capacity. Newer models have double that. So disk space is not a problem.
John's right that the attempts to market netbooks in the 90's failed - probably just an idea whose time had not yet come. But today's netbooks are getting smaller and lighter - and internet security is much improved. Today there are private and public clouds. And when you want to get out of the clouds, you can always work offline.

Jul. 16 2009 10:42 AM

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