According to Michael Dell, a netbook is a dream purchase - until it's about 36 hours old. "If you take a user who's used to a 14- or 15-inch notebook and you say 'Here's a 10-inch netbook,' they're gonna say 'Hey, this is so fantastic. It's so cute. It's so light. I love it,'" Dell told Silicon Valley's tech-obsessed Churchill …
It's only the screen
I've upgraded my netbook, Toshiba NB200 to have 2 GB and it happily runs VM Ware and databases on Ubuntu. The only issue is the small screen size and that fits in economy class and the trains.
Together with the lightness, my 15.4 lappy felt like a ton weight last time I moved it, I'm quite happy with a netbook.
Serious computing = the latest game.
Or possible video work.
OT: Jesus wept!
Another fortnight of this grinning fool's mugshot on the front page :o(
Industry Verses General Public...
An industry Demand is not the Same as a General Public Demand...SCC's are great if you work in IT and know what you are getting..
seems the manufacturers dropped the ball on the marketing and Joe thought he was getting a propper computer!
Now if it had been sold as a MyFaceTwitBook utility Tool not as a PC things might be different.
Agree. The screen would drive me mad.
Netbooks are for people who feel that having a full and varied life is less important than checking their FriendFace page, and as such have not the strength to carry the additional 1Kg of proper laptop.
I don't agree that they can't be used as a main machine.
My main machine (Quad Core, 8GB RAM, huge RAID array) is boxed up until I get my house sorted.
In the meantime I'm using my Advent 4211 (MSI Wind) for everything.
I play DD Online on it, I'm doing an OU course on it.
Yeah, it doesn't like Office much so I use Google Docs.
It does everything I need and I've had it a damn sight longer than 36 hours. (The letters are wearing off the keys!!)
Netbooks are fine!
I'm wtriting on onwe now and I csan tell you tjhat the keyuboard is wopderful!
I agree with a lot of the comments here but even as a developer of 10 years experience I was still seduced by the concept of a netbook as a replacement for a laptop. I bought one but got pissed off with it within 48 hours and returned it. I replaced it with a Macbook which (not being a primary mac user) I have to say I love as a laptop.
It's down to expectations and mine were clearly too high for a netbook. Others presumably have similar thoughts.
Dear Mr. Michael Dell
Thank you for your interesting insight, Mr. Dell. But, truly, couldn't your company's sales department convince people to buy a product regardless of its actual merits?
A sufficiently skilled salesperson would be able to convince just about anyone to buy nearly anything. So if you're taking this position, might I suggest consideration towards replacing your sales force or their senior management until you can find a team that can actually sell product -- irrespective of whatever it is. Test newhires by requiring them to sell, say, a sack of lemons as an extra-cost accesory to a new Dell computer.
I realise that sounds like a radical concept these days with fewer low-hanging sales fruits, but with the economy being what it is, it benefits your company to return to the fundamentals of good salesmanship.
Hugs and kisses,
-A concerned potential Dell investor
@Obviously Reg readers have much more experience
There is one very specific area where Mr Dell has more experience than anyone else in the industry.
That is the area of having Intel and Microsoft pick up far more than their fair share of R+D and marketing costs.
Any other sensible vendor, and very definitely any credible netbook vendor next year, will have to be willing to venture outside Michael's Wintel comfort zone. And once the vendor does that, they lose the benefits of their "best mates" status with Intel and Microsoft. But they hopefully also have a better netbook than anything Wintel based, at a fraction of the price of anything Wintel based, selling in bigger volume than any Wintel based netbook.
Michael, you better learn to lead, follow, or quit whining and get out of the way, because netbooks are here to stay, even if your Wintel comfort zone hasn't got long to live before it gets punctured.
Couldn't be more wrong
I use my eeePC900 (linux) primarily for on-site diagnostics, software installation etc. Some of our machines have *serious* vibration, but the NB just shrugs it off, bouncing up and down quite happily.
Oh, and the NB, it's power supply (which so far I've never needed on site) , and a mouse all fit in the glove compartment with room to spare for the usual half-eaten sandwiches etc.
on the contrary...
I bought a Dell Mini 9 to use as a second machine, and now use it almost exclusively at home (since the laptop is usually booked by my wife), including some development work that I bring home from the office every now and then. The processor is plenty fast for office work, and is also capable of running all the development tools I need, including the MIP solvers. Of course, I can't run huge optimization projects on it, but for developing prototypes it's more than sufficient. It boots faster (running Linux, of course). It's much lighter. It's got good battery life. It's simply brilliant. And when I'm done, it vanishes in a drawer. I don't want to try the same trick with the 29" monitor I have in the office. The only drawbacks are the smallish keyboard and the slightly odd 1024x600 resolution. The Mini 10 might have been the better choice.
In short: when travelling (or for some quick work/surfing at home), give me something small and light. When at work, give me a large screen. I really don't understand why 15" notebooks still exist.
My Dell Mini 9
I got a Dell Mini 9 and installed OS X on it and I absolutely love it. I wouldn't use it to work on for hours on end, but for surfing, email, IM, etc. it's really fantastic.
Some classic behaviour from a vendor here:
First, push punters to higher margin products, like the bombardment you get for "upgrading your experience", typically accompanied with "you know you deserve it", "you love it", "spoil yourself" and the rest of the tired Britard-targeted slogans - I'm sure every country has the equivalent, however - now desperately needed as the economy is in the toilet.
Then, feel the pressure from your suppliers: Windows 7 probably won't work on something with less than 4GB RAM, so when Steve Ballmer calls you up and tells you to sing to his tune, that's what you do. If you're a vendor like Asus, the pressure from Microsoft is nicely balanced with your own envy of established vendors and their "more serious" products, so you'll sacrifice any lead in any emerging segment just to feel like a major player.
Just the opposite
Until I got my netbook, every laptop purchase before that was kind of cool for a couple of days, then I was thinking "This thing is too big and heavy." I actually never used a laptop very much, they seemed like good ideas at the time but were too big to carry around.
Now that I have had a netbook for about a year, I still love it and I use it far more than any laptop I've used before. Of course, that still means maybe once a week,and sometimes not for a month at a time, but that's because IMO laptops still haven't replaced desktops for actual work.
Netbooks are grrrrrreat!
No one in his right state of mind would suggest to use a netbook as a high powered machine.
But I got an Asus EEE 1101H to the missus. Great machine, small and light. Runs Office 2007 ok (mind You, not a 12K rows spreadsheet), and it's a charm on the Internet.
Did I mention de 1,3kg, 11" screen, 1366x768 resolution and the 11H battery life? Well, ok. 11H in the paper. But it does, consistently, 9 hours with some battery to spare.
No connectivity problems too - as it comes with bluetooth, ethernet and 802.11n. All of this with WindowsXP and Kaspersky. :D
It's an extension of a PC, not a PC
Admitedly, there are some people, maybe 1-2% of the market, with low enough expectations of PC performance and low enough needs, and who are willing to attempt to function in practically Win98 resolutions on a 9-10" screen, or those who are simply willing to accept that because they can't afford the alternative.
However, in reality, the Netbook is not something people buy as a primary PC (many do, then return it within 14 days having learned better). A Netbook is a light, cheap, simple machine good enough to bring to aclass and take notes, to surf in a coffee shop, or to bring on a road trip and run a corporate presentation (as long as you don;t need to support HD projection). It's something you do some work on, then sync files back to a real PC or notebook later. It;s a slightly more usable e-mail platform than an iPhone or Blackberry if you have to type a lot of lengthy replies though the form factor is certainly less protable.
As a primary machine, most colleges won't even accept it (won't run XP pro due to license limits, so it can't join a domain, thus can't be part of the secure campus network; same goes for companies). A lot of people showing up to USC this year got that as a nast surprise (after they failed to read the colleges new PC requirements page before buying a machine). You can't even get on the campus wifi network unless the machine has a domain account, so in class, you can't iunteract with the professor's presentation, automatically download notes, access their podcasts, or get/turn in assignemnts. A lot of kids bought these things mid summer, and are now stuck with them, and with buying a $1200 minimum priced machine (campus requirements for even basic students are a bit higher than ordinary jJoe, especially since the campus expects you to use that machine for 3-4 years, and still keep up with security requirements, and not also be telling the professor "give it just 2 more minutes, it;s almost booted up!")
Personally, I'm holding out. i have an iPhone (2 in the family). I'm also looking hard at the Eee keyboard, eagerly waiting to hear the price is under $400 ($300 and I'll but it on day 1). I don't mind the extra 2 lbs of a 15" Macbook compared to a netbook, especially since I don't have to figure out how to manage files across multiple PCs without the use of an integrated sync app, which is what netbooks REALLY need (live mesh.com anyone?) I also don't think 3" less in size makes the slightest difference in carying a bag or not. The BAG is what's cumbersome, and 10" sized bags don't hold paper which is still quite necessary fore meetings, and the power brick is the same size, also those netbooks need external CD drives which actually can make taking them on trips worse, making the bag thicker or bulgy.
I think sliding a 9-10" Mac tablet in a bag, if they're $500 and can support some slightly more advanced software than an iPhone and a bit more multitasking, would be something I'd greatly considder. A Netbook? No, can't find a business case for them that I wouldn't easily exchan ge a 13-15 full notebook for. It's simply not that big of a difference. And yea, great, it's $299 with a contract or $500 without one, but then you have to buy a SECOND copy of office, more antivirus, probably a few other apps, and manage patching 2 machines and dealing with file versioning, so where's the savings? $500 for netbook, $300 for office, $100 in other misc software/accessories, $50 for netbook sized bag; for the differnece I'd have gotten a rediculously powerful 15" machine that I'd be able to keep playing cutting edge games on for 3-4 years, or expect to have a 5-6 year lifespan... It's not cheaper to have a netbook unless it IS your only machine, and good luck with that.
Horses for Courses
I'm happy with my Aspire One, in fact I've got it at work with me today and I'm using it as a portable terminal. Had I bought it as a laptop and expected to do a lot of laptop-like things then yes, it would be unsuitable, but I bought it because it is small, light and robust and easier to carry around places where a full-size laptop would be an inconvenience. For checking email, web browsing or writing notes on the move, it is ideal, but I always have a desktop or laptop machine to come back to at the end of a trip.
Handy little things
I love my netbook and I got it about four months ago. Nice, light and fits perfectly on top of my XBox 360.
If I get stuck on a 360 game I can open the lid, resume windows, look on the internet and I don't need to switch my gaming PC on.
Netbooks are a handy thing to have but only if you have a specific need for one.
Aspire one A150L here,
...running opensuse 11.1 ! It is currently my main machine (out of 3) as none of the rest run skype, or recognise my webcam , and anyway i'm testing 11.2 milestone 7 on one machine .
and can't open a repository yet.
Nice machine ! Does what it says on the tin. Looks good too!
He's certainly entitled to his opinion
...but I can't agree. Just as I often say about buying a PC, the purchase of a netbook over a laptop is a matter of use. I currently use an Acer Aspire One trackside at motor racing events after using a fairly chunky laptop for a couple of years prior to that and a Psion 5 for some years before that.
The Psion was great, at least until the screen washed out. Very small, and could be taken anywhere.
The Acer is great, though it takes a little more effort than the Psion. It's lightweight, though not small enough to fit in a pocket which was a big advantage of the Psion because I could use it anywhere on the circuit without having to lug it.
The chunky laptop was a pain in the arm (no, it wasn't ARM powered!). It worked OK, but I could have done without the extra weight and the worry about what a little bit of contact might do to its HDD.
But not everyone uses a netbook or laptop for this sort of thing. In other words, Dell is generalising, which is always a dangerous thing to do... heh!
Netbooks are fine.
I have two Dell laptops, both high power business / professional machines. Until I got my Aspire One I never carried either about. I write stories as a passtime and now my netbook gets put into my back pack and used on the train and on holiday. I run the cut down version of XP and Office 2007 and it's fast enough for my writing skills. It has great connectivity and a very clear screen. Do I use it at home, well no. But I rarely use either of the two Dells either.
Netbooks have their uses and as a light portable device they are spot on.
Technology improving / people still morons
Yes most people are idiots and expect to get the same user experience from a 10" screen as a 15" screen.
As an at home device my eeePC is intolerable. But if I was out and about I am happy for the small size and weight. Also with a 9 hr battery life i dont have to lug about the charging gubbins.
Im waiting for the laptop with the 37 inch screen. Followed by the frenzied purchases .Followed by the moronic complaints from all the people that got one and then complained about lugging it about.
1. desktop, oir use at a desk.
2. laptop, for use where you move about a bit.
3. netbook., for use where you have to move about a lot.
(No number 4, even those w ankers whose emails end in "Sent from my iphone/blackberry - are they too thick to change their sigs, or do they expect us to collapse in admiration/envy?)
Tadpole were right
When most people use an x86 after 36hours they realise the CPU isn't really upto the job of running a data centre like Hotmail or t-mobile/Danger and so switch back to Sparc.
That's why people should just buy a Sparc laptop from Tadpole in the first place.
Or am I talking complex b********
"most colleges won't even accept it (won't run XP pro due to license limits, so it can't join a domain, thus can't be part of the secure campus network"
I wish you were joking, but regrettably I suspect you're not.
After all, there is no possible (commercially and technically viable) alternative to Active Directory for a secure network, either in business or where taxpayers' money is involved, is there. Certainly not one that uses open vendor-independent standards for identification authentication and protection and the like. Yeah.
And similarly there is no possible alternative to a domain-capable Microsoft OS on the students' PCs, is there?
[Aside 1: Does this mean that students with Macs are second class citizens too, or is Michael not 100% with the program?]
[Aside 2: Unless the colleges etc are going to use DRM-enforced copy protection etc on all the lecture materials and stuff, wtf don't they accept that they *can't* protect them and put them somewhere where domain membership isn't necessary for accessing them? This (a) saves them hassle and (b) if the materials are good, gets them good publicity - like the place whose VHDL materials I'm learning from at the moment]
Proactive damage control
Michael Dell is now on record as stating that netbooks are dead. This is in advance of Apple's iTablet release of course.
He needed to say this, in order to look good when Apple redefines the netbook market.
Micheal Dell: the poor-serendipitous-one-trick-pony-not-one-innovative-bone-in-his-body-microsoft-lacky-fool.
<michael dell is the devil avatar image goes here/>
What has it got in its pocketses?
Oh for something like the Psion that I could pop in my pocket and runs for 10 hours.
No need for a stupid bags, just a pair of baggy shorts, tshirt and sandals.
Oh and people to design web pages for the user not the design department wank of the month.
>this is *exactly* the response most people have to a netbook if they're used to a normal lappy.
I assume this is your personal experience and not merely a supposition so I'll counter that with my own experience. I had a normal laptop, a Samsung R52?, then got a Samsung NC10 as a nice to have for when another family member was using the laptop. We still have the netbook, the laptop has been given away and a second netbook is being considered for the use that the first one was purchased for.
>except for the 6 year old, and I can only put off his complaining by telling him that he can't have one until he can read
I apologise in advance if your 6 year old has learning difficulties but if not I find it incomprehensible that by the age of a six a child cannot read. Whether every child or family member needs their own computer is a different matter surely it makes more sense to have a smaller number of machines in a communal area, maybe a relatively powerful desktop and a number of netbooks or their netbox cousins.
Yep, an eee is my "second machine"
And it's served gloriously for all of my portable computing needs for over a year now.
What's your point, Mike?
As has been posted 10,000 times
I have a netbook as a second machine mainly since I would look foolish walking around with a fullsize desktop and well to power the thing.... But I've found that I use the netbook more and more for everyday stuff such as general work, email, web, posting comments on El Reg. I couldn't use it at work due to screen real estate issues as it doesn't handle 15 open windows that well. But having adobe reader, firefox, outlook, word, and IM open its runing very nicely. My desktop I have now reserved for games and when I want to watch movies on a >10" screen. Though VLC does do pretty well on this box
Netbooks can do a lot of stuff..
Am I the only one that's getting fed with the "netbooks are for basic stuff" crowd? I have a quad core at home where I mostly game, transcode video, edit video, edit audio, edit pictures, etc. I also have a media pc hooked into my hidef tv to watch hidef movies and such. I also have a netbook running xp.
The only thing I can't do on the netbook is transcode video, play 3d games, and watch 1080p video (720p works smooth and perfect.) Now, I can do stuff like edit standard def video, edit audio, etc but why would I want to? I can just wait till I get home and do it quicker and more comfortably on my dual monitor quad core.
However, office 2003, visio, web surfing, email, etc. it works quick with no problems. The only problem I have personally with the netbook is the screen resolution (not the size, mind you.) The crappy resolution makes you scroll all over the place through web pages, dialog boxes, and so forth. That's the one thing that keeps me from using it more...if it had 1368x768 I would be real happy. Man I really wish they would offer a dual core atom, ION video, 10 inch, 1368x768 resolution..I would be in heaven (the ION and resolution could make some 3d games possible). Alas, Intel/Windows will forbid such a thing. A holes..
And Michael Dell just wants more money what do you expect him to say, "nah, don't buy my $2,000 laptops, continue to buy the $300 netbooks!"
Put larger screen in Netbooks
95% of consumers don't care about "performance". They just want a stable and smooth browser and basic apps.
Intel and Microsoft are blocking the use of 15" screens for netbook hardware.
ARM and VIA are coming soon with real competition, and put Chrome OS on it, soon enough with real competition in this industry, you will get 15" ARM or VIA laptops that can run full Chrome browsers for below $200.
Of course Michael Dell is pooing all over the Netbook. He doesn't sell many of them and they don't make him any money, so naturally he wants to convince everyone that a high end computer is the way to go because that would make him money. His buddies at Microsoft are doing the same thing because sales of Netbooks keeps XP in play and they want us all to move to Windows 7. Both Microsoft and Dell are deluding themselves because the entire world is in the midst of a recession and that means that millions of people are not in the market for a new high end PC.
I lurve my netbook, it does everything I need a laptop for. Email on the go, web access wherever I am, I have hundreds of ebooks on it and can wander the house reading while I do other things, almost as good as a real book - something that'd be far too awkward with a full-size laptop.
I can watch movies in bed, or read in bed, again without all the space taken up by the footprint of a full size laptop. And yes, I can run games on it - Homeworld 2 or Warcraft 3 for example run great.
I also don't have to go find a place to plug it in after a couple hours, a good six hours or more of use before my battery gets low is the norm. It's pretty amazing really - a piece of technology that actually doesn't suck!
If I'm doing something that needs number crunching, I'll use my desktop machine with my comfy chair, ergonomic desk arrangement, etc. Why would I want to play serious games on a laptop anyway? Unless it's set up much like a desktop would be, with external monitor, keyboard, comfy chair/desk/etc then hunching over even a 17in laptop is gonna start hurting my neck and back after a little while, so why not use a cheaper yet more powerful full desktop for those times?
Between my desktop and my netbook I have everything covered nicely - what I can't really see a need for is a normal laptop. So yeah, Michael Dell can get stuffed.
Dell should stick with something he understands. I can still remember him trying to hold forth on supercomputing as if he knew anything about that either.
Netbooks may not have all the capabilities of Laptops but then one has to wonder :
do consumers hate their smart phones after 36 hours ?
No, when you buy a device you know what it is capable of and netbooks definately beat smart-phones at just about everything Internet related and are "as good as" Laptops at these simple tasks (browing web, email, even VoIP), while they remain far more transportable...
The only thing a smartphone is better at is phoneing ...
What Dell and Intel are scared off is the following equation :
When on the road the combination of a "cheap netbook" with a "cheap phone" beats or matches the combination of an "expensive laptop" with an "expensive smartphone" at just about anything you'd want to do whilst on the road ! Especially when it comes to portability and price !
@AC 10:38; @Kleykenb
AC opines: "Serious computing = the latest game.
Or possible video work."
My video editing needs are covered by an aging iMac. Games, by definition, are not serious.
Kleykenb wonders "do consumers hate their smart phones after 36 hours ?"
My Wife certainly does. We have a box full in the closet that she has tried and found lacking. She's currently using the Nokia 5185 that we bought ten years ago. I've never stopped using mine. I have a box full of spare-part phones that I've picked up at junk-shops, and fully intend to continue using it until the telephone company no longer supports it.
What a leach
So Michael Dell *knows* his customers will have significant buyer's remorse 36 hours after he sells them a netbook...but he flogs them one anyway.
Wonder if he's heard of Karma?
Dell is wrong, and this is a non-debate.
Look this isn't rocket science.
When I'm going places where the size and weight of a laptop are not an issue, yes of course I prefer the laptop.
When size and weight are more of a problem, of course I use the netbook.
The idea that the two are somehow competing for market share is about as dumb as suggesting that an SUV competes with a mini.
Dell Renigs on own products, and quafs own customers...
If Micheal Dell was such a visionary, he would have made the Winston-Salem Dell Manufacturing Facility a little more flexible...and not just announce that the plant closure (after opening only 4 years ago) was because "the Public" does not want desktop computers, they only want laptops.
Few IT Planners I know, think there is much difference in the facility necessary to build laptops compared to one to make desktops...
Just shut it down, re-arrange the lines, get the vendor/inventory/delivery system schedules changed, and your up and making whatever kind of electronic devices you like.
BUT NO... He is going to lay-off 1000 people and renege on $280 Million dollars of incentives his company received.. because we want laptops for Christmas.
His admittance of the lower enthusiasm by the public to the performance of netbooks (that were promoted as better than a Notebook) is so flawed...As a netbook and a notebook are different in many ways.
If he had actually used a netbook for ...oooh let us say...36 Hours... he would have seen that the netbooks are great for some things and terrible for others...EASILY.
He has a world-class university (Wake Forest University) just down the way...he could have had a few students test some products for a few days, and they could have filled him in on what the netbooks short-commings and greatest attributes are.
And they could probably change the floor plan of that factory to be up and running laptops in a month or two...
Micheal Dell's Opinions Are So...Last year...Duh!
"The idea that the two are somehow competing for market share is about as dumb as suggesting that an SUV competes with a mini."
Bad simile. The general public is, as a whole, horrendously ignorant. Most of the people who buy SUVs and Minis do so for "street cred", not because they need the product. They are more about "look at me" than they are about personal transportation. In today's world, the SUV competes directly with the BMW^W Mini.
Likewise for small form-factor computers. I mean, seriously, how sad are the idiots at the coffee house of your choice, more interested in the !FaceYouMyTweet persona that they invented in their mommy's basement than they are in the other similarly sad !FaceYouMyTweet lusers sitting around them, locked into the computer screen instead of eyeballing the singles around them, all of whom are obviously desperate for a date?
We belong to a "I gots stuffs" society, not an "I have stuff to share" society.
Sorry - rubbish
I have used an Asus 1000 for over a year. This has literally been around the world as well as down the bike paths of the Isar, Danube and Salzach rivers. I purchased it because I could not use a 15" monster in coach, my Company does not see why shareholders should have to pay for first class travel. Instead of being just a portable addition, it is a serious tool I can use for everything from programming to documentation.
Needless to say one needs to run the right O/S - this runs Ubuntu.
Perhaps Dell only caters to those who rip off the shareholders and fly first class ;-)
Wrote this for this thread earlier
Anyone who complains that a 10" screen's too small, having just bought a netbook with, er, a 10" screen should be shot as an example to others.
The issue is low power, methinks. And that's not Dell's fault. Even running XP, your average netbook experience is dire. Add anti-spam, ant-virus, anti-malware, anti-adware, then launch a M'Soft Office package. It's now you miss your main desktop machine, be it a lappy or no. Much like this article says, here: http://kyliehorn.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/michael-dell-says-his-netbooks-are-shite-but-hes-wrong-for-once/
I use an MSI WIND 10" as my main machine. It runs (at the moment - I'm experimenting) OpenSUSE. It's perfect for everything I do: usual online gubbins, GIMP-ing, some vector graphics stuff and web design. Michael dell wants us to buy higher end Dells: they make him more money. That's it. He should put his money where his mouth is, and either stop selling themaltogether, or sell then ONLY with, say, an Ubuntu install on them.
Low profit margin!
Look to me like mike does not like the netbook or more like the low profit margin on them! And by the way if mike dell think nebook are too low powered mike dell should just do something about it and build the next generation of netbook!
These netbooks are great for small games and quick emails.
If you expect to do ANY serious work on them you are then fooling yourself.
But they are great for being a backup device when your main pc dies.