July 13, 2009, 2:09 PM — My friend Lisa is not a willing participant in the world of technology. She checks her e-mail every three or four days, is not interested in searching the Web for much of anything, and has no driving curiosity about what new fun things her computer can do. In other words, she's a fairly typical non-technical user forced to become computer literate, but only barely. We all know and support such people. So imagine my surprise when she told me how much she loves her new netbook.
Usually, groans and requests for help accompany any mention of computers in our conversations. Her seven year old computer didn't recover after being shut down in a power failure during a thunderstorm here in Texas. So she had to buy a new computer, but she didn't want to spend much.
When she said “I got a new computer” I was surprised because she was happy and smiling, rather than groaning about the money and the hassle. “It's one of those netbook, little laptop, things.”
She didn't know what brand it was, although she thinks it has “eee” in it's name. Sounds like her husband Jeff went to the store and came back with an ASUS Eee PC model.
Here's what she loves about this netbook: “I can carry it my purse, and do word processing, and check e-mail, and that's all I need.” Notice that her needs are well defined, she likes the portability, and is not at all scared of her new netbook computing appliance. Because that's all she needs, really, a computing appliance that's portable.
Many analysts believe netbooks will become popular as second computers because of their portability. It appears, at least for Lisa, that her netbook has become the primary system for a light computer user who values low cost and portability. For her, the netbook is the perfect computer. Discussions of computing appliances versus lightweight platforms don't matter to her, but she loves the netbook she can put in her purse and use when and where she wants. She's happy, and I'm happy for her.