August 07, 2009, 5:51 PM — Once again, IT execs want to kill the People's Choice of Computing, the netbook. Over and over we hear from IT people that netbooks are terrible and we should buy a “real” computer. Now Datamation asks Is the Netbook Dead? Ha! It Never Existed! and tries to throw more cold water on the hottest and brightest hardware sector.
This time, the story is netbooks aren't special because small, light computers have been around for years. True, but the wealth of Software as a Service applications combined with constant wireless access makes netbooks the tool of the future. Power-sipping but media-savvy chips make netbooks far better than any “ultraportable” laptop that came before.
The smart IT people who have been ruining technology for years and years now want us to forget about netbooks and get excited about “smartbooks” which is a netbook type device made for cell phone companies. This is supposed to be an improvement? Let me count the ways this sucks.
First of all, netbooks have the ability to add mobile broadband capabilities, and some higher end models come with this feature. But the majority of netbooks never touch a cell phone carrier network and their owners don't want to pay those prices. Yes, they're great for road warriors, but coffee drinkers and casual home and office users find WiFi does what they need and costs far less.
Second, no one will use a phone with an nine inch screen like the smartbooks will likely have. People will always carry their phone, and sometimes carry their netbook. No FrankenDevice will cover both needs.
Third, smartbooks will use cell phone CPUs with cell phone operating systems. While cute, do you want to fight Windows CE all day for important computer work? Part of the appeal of a netbook is the ability to run regular software as well as go online for applications.
Finall y, who wants the cell phone providers to dictate how we use our small portable computing devices?Don't cell phone carriers always rate at the top of the “Companies We Hate” surveys? Forget Dell and HP and trust our portable computing to Verizon and Sprint? No thanks.
Hey, IT executives, lay off the netbooks. Real people like them, real people use them for real work, and the more you yammer about how terrible they are, the more you become irrelevant.