Netbook Specific Applications

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We know a netbook is not a laptop, but when they debuted, the only applications available were the regular Windows and Linux applications. Now companies are taking into account the smaller screen size and lower power of netbooks and releasing applications modified to maximize your minimal netbook.

Last month, two different office productivity suites arrived aimed at the netbook market. Both take into account the processor and storage space limitations, and are priced much lower than earlier versions.

ThinkFree has long made Microsoft Office-compatible suites for local execution and as hosted applications. Now they released ThinkFree Mobile Netbook for Windows. They also released Linux and Mac editions. All are available for download, and all cost an introductory price of $24.95. Regular price will be $39.95.

Not only does ThinkFree Mobile take less storage space and perform better on a netbook than their equivalent Office-compatible software, the interface has been designed for the netbook wide screen format. Since you download it, you don't have to find a way to hook up a CD or DVD drive to your netbook for installation.

Corel's new version of their netbook-ready office suite, called Corel Home Office, ships on a USB stick to get around the CD/DVD drive problem on your netbook. In case you don't remember, Corel bought the WordPerfect product line after WordPerfect management took their majority market share and drove it into the ground back in the 90s. The product had world class features but suffered from brain-damaged executives, and Corel built upon the technical foundation.

Priced at $69.99 retail, Corel Home Office includes Write (word processor), Calculate (spreadsheet), and Show (presentations). Free trial versions are available online.

Is this a trend in new application development? I hope so. Not all netbook users will want to pay for a cellular data network account, so they'll need local applications. Many regular applications run fine on a netbook, but new versions of some apps that take into account the slower processor and limited screen display are welcome.

If you know of or make a netbook-specific app, let me know.

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