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back to article Netbooks were a GOOD thing and we threw them under a bus

Packing for a week-and-a-half road trip to Silicon Valley and back triggered a moment of introspection over the impending end of netbook production. I had some devices to choose from for my journey. I could have taken my Alienware MX18, my first-generation Samsung Galaxy Tab, my Asus Transformer, my Samsung NF210 Netbook, my …

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Re: Couldn't you just charge your phones overnight, too?

No. Internet access in San Francisco is essentially a fraud. Cellular coverage is made out of failure and the tears of little girls. Your cell phones have to expend 3x the power here as back home in Edmonton just to hit the tower, and you have to push a steady stream of virgins into the nearest lava flow in order to eek out a few measly megabytes of data from the telecommunications companies that extort "the most powerful nation on earth."

Even swapping SIMs from device to device, the power cost of keeping the cell tower reachable, of popping up a MiFi point so your netbook/tablet/whatever can be tethered and then using the GPS to navigate around the tentacle monster that is the bay area travel infrastructure you are going to flatten those batteries right quick.

Native San Franciscans might have adapted to the fact that this entire city wavers betwen "designed with malicious intent" and "designed by an autistic child with crayons," but visitors simply need to get from A to B while Getting Shit Done. That means relying on those smartphones in such a manner that - at best - you get 4-6 hours out of the little buggers, and that's having tried more models of the things than you can shake a stick at.

I fear charging my cell phones are an absolutely nessecary part not only of "getting shit done," but "finding my hotel afterwards" and even "not dying a horrible, gristly death by knowing somewhat in advance what the hell lane I am supposed to be in."

That, of course, is if and when the maps application is doing it's job and telling me to "turn right" directly off an onramp. But that's a rant for later…

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Angel

i have two and a half netbooks at home...

a first generation aspire one with an extended battery that easily does me a full day. got rid of windows, installed arch linux, bumped up the ram, and there's a small, light, and reasonably quick machine to play with. added bonus: fits neatly into the pannier bags on my bike, so perfect for day trips to client sites.

my only complaint was the woeful resolution, so i picked up a sony vaio netbook with a better resolution. as of yet, it's stock, but i'll boost the ram and battery on that, too. currently, it's a dual-boot between windows xp and arch, but only because it came with xp and i found that my harmony remote software only runs on windows, and i'll be damned if i shell out for something that i only need to use for one program when i've got a freebie that works just fine.

the other netbook... that's kinda special. it's actually only half a netbook - no screen. i thought the original netbook's motherboard was toast, so i bought a replacement. turned out it was a cable, so after replacing that i had a perfectly functional motherboard. so i bought a shell for it, and a pcie video decoder card, and put xbmc on it: perfect for watching 1080p movies from our server in my daughter's nursery back when she still needed night-time feeds.

so, yeah, i'll miss netbooks a lot. but i still have hopes that the next generation of tablets-with-docks will finally be able to give them a run for their money.

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Anonymous Coward

Nostalgia overload

I didn't think anyone still said "WIMP" in that way...*

* As opposed to merely casting aspersions on your rugged physique

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Windows

Re: Nostalgia overload

I didn't think anyone still said "WIMP" in that way...*

That could be part of the problem ... the handy acronym WIMP encourages us to think in terms of those four foundations of modern GUI design: windows, icons, menus, and pointers. We should use it more.

Microsoft, however, would rather that we thought of WART.

Windows, Animations, Ribbons, Touch ...

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Re: Nostalgia overload

I think I just figured out why everything is supposed to be full screen now... that makes the acronym ART, which is what there commercials make me think of... all form, no function, and a purpose made up on the spot.

"This piece represents the intrinsic fatality of modern consumerism. The round top makes reminds us of the reuse that the chaff of our society could be taking and..."

"dude, it's a trash can"

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404
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Trollface

oh yeah? OH YEAH?

With my $300 Craigslist Hp 8440P EliteBook with it's 1600x900 resolution, Intel Core i5 M520, 6GB ram, 320GB HD, running Win8Pro - I can beat the client to death with it, wipe it down, and use it at the next stop.

Take that, you netbooks/tablets/ultras!

;)

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Linux

I am still using my Eee 701SD...

It's probably difficult for some to believe that anyone above primary-school age could get on with "the original netbook", but I really like my Eee 701 (that's the one with the 7" screen, huge bezel and tiny chiclet keys). I was lucky enough to pick up a refurbished 8GB model in 2009, for barely more than £100, and it's still going strong, except for the original battery which wore out (I'm currently running it off AC until I can get around to sourcing a bigger replacement).

Actually, I get on pretty well with the 701, but then having been an owner of two Psions (3c and 5mx) and a Stowaway keyboard for my old Nokia N95 back in the day, tiny keyboards don't bother me. The 800x480 display can be a bit cramped at times, but again I work around that - for me, it's a payoff for owning a machine small enough to fit on a First Great Western train "tray-table".

Software? A tailored Arch Linux installation, running the Fluxbox window manager and other lightweight applications. Runs surprisingly smoothly, but then I think max-ing out the RAM at 2GB probably helped there. Only thing I'd change if I could: a larger SSD wouldn't hurt, as the 8GB one in my Eee is groaning at the seams (constantly about 95% full; imagine what a big package update is like).

When my 701 dies on me, I don't know what I'd replace it with - maybe one of those Samsung ARM Chromebooks, and try and install Arch/ARM on it?

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Re: I am still using my Eee 701SD...

I still have my 701, but don't use it since the left trackpad button died - a common problem with the switches it seems. Easily workable round with taps or mouse, but mildly annoying. If you need a replacement, I'd recommend a 901. Same size, bigger screen, twice as fast, twice the storage. Not a 900, though, as that has the same processor as the 701.

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Re: I am still using my Eee 701SD...Same here

Mine is a 4GB model, ordered in the first week they could be ordered, and now has Ubuntu 10.04 on it. I cannot see me putting 12.04, though (far too small and underpowered).

The big problem is that a mainstream distro leaves an uncomfortably small amount of space on a 4GB SSD. I have to aggressively manage cached packages, multiple kernels and other things to leave enough space for the system to work.

But otherwise, it is surprisingly usable.

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Re: I am still using my Eee 701SD...

@Ian Johnston - yup, my 701's touchpad left-button expired a couple of years ago (interesting that it's a not-uncommon problem with that machine, by the sound of it).

Like you, I get around the dead button with pad-taps and (where possible) a mini-optical mouse, but it is mildly irritating, and would probably cost more than the worth of the machine to fix, so I live with it. Still fond of the little scamp, anyway...

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Anonymous Coward

Did anyone ever make...

a 10" netbook with 1280x800 res and decent battery life?

I think for the resolution > 1024x600 there had to be a non-Intel CPU. The best I can think of was the Samsung NC20 (12" 1280x800 with 1.6GHz Via Nano and 5 hours battery).

The other VIA based netbook I can recall (not hard, 'cos there's one on my desk) was the HP 2133 that was a 9" 1280x800 machine but slow & with appalling battery life.

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Unhappy

Re: Did anyone ever make...

I think for the resolution > 1024x600 there had to be a non-Intel CPU.

No ... my Acer with 11.6" 1366x768 screen had an Intel Atom Z520. It was a fairly early netbook, sold with Windows XP, though. 10" and 1024x600 became the norm once Windows 7 Starter became the common OS, because of the licensing terms.

Intel did try hard to make a 10" display part of the definition of "netbook" in order to discourage manufacturers from making cheap "netbooks" that might compete with more expensive "notebooks" ... and Microsoft finished the hatchet job with their licensing.

Some background here:

http://techcrunch.com/2009/01/06/here-come-the-12-inch-netbooks-and-intel-isnt-happy-about-it/

A pity, because around 12" is the sweet spot for a netbook.

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Unhappy

OMG winSXS. Microsoft "discovers" the bin directory.

Who knows what other wonders await?

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Coat

You want....

quick, cheap and battery life - you are only ever going to get 2 of those....

By the sound of it, you really want a Mac Book Air....

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Happy

Why not a Chromebook?

People here have suggested Chromebooks with Chrubuntu on it. But why even do that?

For what you're talking about, I can't see any reason why a Chromebook wouldn't do exactly what you want.

Battery life - check

Office apps - check

Internet and email - check

and around £200 in the UK - and even cheaper in the US.

Which is not to say I don't 100% agree that the demise of the netbook is something to mourn.

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Re: Why not a Chromebook?

try it without an internet connection.

I went from an EEEPC 900 to lenovo x61: lightweight,5 hour battery, powerful enough for everything except gaming and 120 quid! Added bonus there are always people with lenovo chargers if you forget yours or need a quick bost

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Linux

Re: Why not a Chromebook?

Because a lot of the stuff I want to do with a little linux box is pretty low-level. Partition editing for example. I also use my chromebook as a development laptop so python, the ability to install arbitrary libraries from the Ubuntu repositories and all that good stuff is what I want.

That said, yes, when I want (almost) instant-on browsing and mail with a nice bright screen, I use ChromeOS and it's great.

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Lightweight Linux (Bodhi Linux)

I have a crappy Samsung netbook. It came with Windows7 starter, this was completely so slow it was unusable.

Ubuntu faired a bit better but was still so slow.

I tried Bodhi Linux (which uses E17) and its insanely fast! Really snappy, in fact its like your using a different machine - more responsive than most people's Win7/Ubuntu installs...

If you have an old netbook try Bodhi Linux, you may surprise yourself.

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Work gave me a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. It's unusably bad for all but the most trivial tasks, and for them it's just bad. So I splashed out £120 and got a NOS Asus Eee PC 901 from eBay. It runs Lubuntu with Chromium and a full LibreOffice install just fine. When I want something bigger I have a very nice Thinkpad X32 running Xubuntu. That cost me £13.50 on eBay, plus a HDD and a keyboard bezel I had lying around.

Every couple of months I go to a faculty meeting with about 100 staff present. The first one after the iPad came out, the place was infested with them. Since then tablets have all but disappeared; everyone is back on proper computers.

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Facepalm

No middle ground at the moment?

I loved my Asus netbook and for a couple of years used it for software development in cafés, along with a clunky Dell laptop at home. Then two years ago I got a £350 Acer 8371 13" Timeline that had already been in the warehouse for a year. After installing a custom BIOS to knock the noisy fan on the head, it's almost the perfect near-netbook - light, matte screen, just enough processing power for my work, very good battery life, now running Windows 8 on a 750GB disk, and I don't need to switch between two machines. Good thing I bought 4 because there doesn't seem to be anything to replace it - ultrabooks are expensive, fragile-feeling, with (usually) derisory storage, and non-serviceable parts. What's the point in shaving millimetres off the thickness if it's going to compromise the functionality? I can't stand hot, noisy machines and Intel CPUs don't seem to be developing fast enough in the right direction.

So, to me at least, there seems to be a gap in the market for a sensible, highly functional, small, light, quiet, reasonably-priced machine that doesn't try to follow all the latest fads. Better than a netbook, cheaper than an ultrabook. So basically an 8371 with just a little more grunt and resolution would do me fine. As it is, I dread having to buy a new laptop.

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totally agree

netbooks were one of the best things to come out of the i.t. business in ages (i'm typing on a dimension 11z with a nice 240gb SSD in it).

dell stopped selling their 9" mini otherwise i probably would have bought another one by now, as this one (getting around 16 hours of use a day), is wearing thin, i already replaced the keyboard.

i need at least 700px of vertical res tho (for serato DJ package), so my choices were rather limited anyway, but now way more so :(

i have a sneaking feeling that they have not left for good tho, i have this feeling that they will come back ;)

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Alert

What really killed the netbook ...

... was the screen.

The biggest drawback to most netbooks is that the screens are only 10" and only 1024x600. That's fine for some things, for some people (my father in law is very happy with his) but it's smaller than it needs to be (in my view) and lacks the pixel resolution for real work. I gather that one reason for this is Microsoft's licensing terms for Windows 7 Starter edition (the cheap one designed for netbooks).

The fact that computer is small and light shouldn't mean that it can't have a useful display.

I was lucky enough to notice when Maplin were running a "£50 off" promotional deal on the Acer Aspire One 751h, and rushed out to get one. This is one of the few netbooks there has been with a larger screen (11.6") and adequate (just barely, at 1366x768) resolution. It came with XP Home, but I wiped that the first time I switched it on and installed Ubuntu. That required a little jumping through hoops as Acer had chosen to use the "Intel" GMA500 chipset (nice hardware, not made or designed by Intel, but poor driver support -- even in Windows) but thanks to a user-supported driver project it did all I needed it to. Great machine: very portable, good WiFi reception, built-in 3g modem, decent battery life for the time (realistically ~6 hours when new). It's only an Atom Z520 so it isn't fast ... but it's as fast as it needs to be and doesn't drink batteries.

The latest LTS version of Ununtu has a built-in driver for the GMA500 chipset, and it works better than ever before.

The Ironic thing is that I bought a netbook to have a cheap "dispensible" computer for travelling, but it would be so hard to replace this one with anything that approached it in features that I now look after it more carefully than my main laptop.

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They already existed but weren't cheap

They already existed. We had the Dell Latitude D400 series, the IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad X series. However they' weren't cheap being typically £1200+.

But you can buy them used today for a little over 1/10th of that price. Because so many were used in business there are many on the used market that probably haven't been used at all.

I use a 2007 Dell Latitude D430 I use which cost me £100 to buy and £60 to upgrade to SSD. Core 2 Duo 1.33GHz ULV CPU, 12.1" 1280x800 screen, 64GB SSD. Various capacity batteries available including ones that will do all day. A 5200mAh battery can be bought for under £15 and will easily do 5+hrs.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: They already existed but weren't cheap

"Because so many were used in business there are many on the used market that probably haven't been used at all."

My other laptop is a recycled Thinkpad x200s and I know what you mean, they are excellent for the money (a tad over £130 for this one). Battery life isn't up to Mr Potts' all day definition however.

And all I can say is that the T42, T60 I have set up and passed on to relatives and this X200s have definitely earned their living! I believe antique dealers would call it 'patina'.

Keyboard icon: not quite that bad but you get the idea...

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Re: They already existed but weren't cheap

Using a second-hand X31 Thinkpad for at-work internet, almost always plugged in because of old weak batteries. This is my second, first lost its screen when I was punted off a bike. Another old laptop lost its screen to a fall off a bike while in the backpack about two years later.

Appreciate all the tips on usable netbooks here among the posts. Going with some of those could get me the long battery life I'm currently missing, though my aging eyes would miss the 12.1" screen. Mine needs to have Windows at least on a dual-boot to occasionally run an Excel crew bill estimate program that won't run on OO.

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Clearly

"We" didn't throw netbooks under the bus, Microsoft did, by failing to make available usable versions of Windows with reasonable hardware requirements.

Sadly, the option of using Ubuntu, for example, is really only a theoretical possibility for most of the market.

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Well actually

Microsoft killed the market with really shitty versions of Windows like "Windows 7 Starter" demanding shitty hardware like limited display resolutions.

Another point was bad hardware quality. Since a Windows license still cost a relevant amount of money, the build quality of those devices sometimes was abysmally bad.

Of course screen bevels also were a problem, some Netbooks had a tiny screen in a gigantic case, taking up nearly as much space as a normal 12" Notebook.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Agree - netbooks are still usable - love my Toshiba NB100 1.6Ghz Atom netbook

Got it in 2009. Upgraded the memory to the max 2Gb and put in a 128Gb Samsung 840 Pro SSD. Runs Windows 7 Pro 32 bit very capably. Swift little dinky work horse. Can change the battery too, the larger expanded battery appears to give me around 6 hours of charge.

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Do Microsoft/manufacturers understand the market any more?

It seems to be becoming difficult to buy equipment now. Everything is a bit of a mis-mash. I don't think Microsoft/manufacturers understand that people now have several computers, tablets, phones and these are used for different tasks. Instead we still seem to be trying to shoehorn one computer for everything. I can't get a decent screen'd laptop for proper production work. I'd like something small and neat with a keyboard and a monitor connection for light travelling. I have tablets but they're for browsing/info gathering. And I have a phone. I don't need one thing trying to be all of these.

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No, but they never did

The reason why there was more progress in the past was, that there were more manufacturers. And those manufactures were even taking bets producting new products which never before have been there.

Today if you want to bring a new class of products to the market, your beancounter/investor will look at the sales figures and tell you clearly, that since nobody has bought that non-existent product yet, nobody wants it. They then suggest you to make a touch screen phone or a social network, since that's where the money is.

Look at companies like Grid which simply made a laptop, though nobody has proven a market for it.

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Hel
Linux

Netbooks

I bought my netbook based on size and functionality. Price was a lesser consideration because I wanted it to be my only mobile device, beside my cell phone. I got the then brand-new Dell Inspiron Duo (with the cool convertable touchscreen). It's not perfect, but it's a great size for use on an airplane, and battery life is adequate now, and pretty good compared to competition back then. If I was looking for a replacement, I'd probably go with one of Samsung's ATIV PCs http://www.samsung.com/global/ativ/ativ_pc.html . Totally agree with your price comment. There's really nothing available on the market anymore that is cheap first and feature-filled second. Certianly nothing like the EEEs of (long) ago.

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Used X-Series thinkpads are the way forward...

Robust, small, the ones I've found have had a great battery life, generally available on ebay for £100-£150 and once you've stuck Mint on them, you have your WIMP. Had two of them and the first is still going strong two years later. What more do you need?

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Re: Used X-Series thinkpads are the way forward...

That's actually where the smart money went. I have recently been camping at a festival with normal people. Most of them had various kinds of Thinpads, not only X-Series. I don't think I've seen any classical Netbooks. However there was about 10% macs (usually with stickers indicating they were company property) and there was even the odd Dell running some sort of Windows.

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What do you want the Netbook for

The big question is: What does one want to do with a Netbook on a conference?

If it is simply "Take notes, read email, do some minor work" than the "Netbook" still exists. Lighter, more compact, easier to use and with a better screen. Granted, it will cost more than the 450€ Lenovo S10-3 (after all needed upgrades) I bought IIRC in late 2010 but it delivers more in a smaller package. These things are called Win8 Tablet-PCs, more exactly the systems with an ACTIVE digitizer instead of the "Steve Jobs rememberance smear" finger only capacitiye stuff build into most ARM systems (IIRC the Note 10.1 is the only "in production" system with a WACOM - and the software like SNote on that is second rate compared to what Windows has out of the box)

And if I need to type something longer I can lug around a BT keyboard/mice. CAN! not must. I use Tablet-PC for notetaking/mobile work/presentations for quite some time now (granted, a 1kg core-i system) and while I have a BT keyboard in the carry-bag I have rarely (1 day per month) pulled it out. Handwriting -> Text translation works just fine, either directly or "post writing" (something SNote lacks) and even the aging Cedar Trail has more power than the Quad-Core ARM in the Note 10.1 (Compared that to an ATIV500)

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One thing about the ancient MacBook, users could change batteries. But the version of OS X and, more critically Safari, are neglected and not what I think are secure.

Could go get a PowerPC version of Xubuntu, but RAM limitations may frustrate. Besides, how much time does a busy person want to spend resuscitating ancient kit?

Now, the problem wasn't that people didn't use netbooks, it was that the manufacturers couldn't make enough profit on them, and sales were usually at the expense of their higher margin products. They did not bring new customers to the marketplace. Microsoft considered Linux a threat in the sector and so XP's life as the OEM install was extended. Microsoft offered that XP with a discount pricing and subsidized the netbooks' marketing. That didn't work out so well because that meant the profitability problem transferred from the OEMs to Microsoft and it was all for naught as Linux, with the face of Android, became quite successful in mobile via phones, and Microsoft began to lose the crown as the platform one uses everywhere, and the crown as the choice OEMs make to profit. It also meant that as soon as Microsoft lost its motivation to carry the sector, the products disappeared.

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Not enough power sockets?

Why not just chuck a power strip in your bag?

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Anonymous Coward

Netbooks were/are toys

Netbooks never made much sense but that never stopped marketeeeeers.

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We didn't throw them, Intel&Microsoft did

Hats off to Intel for insisting on its incapable graphics junk and Microsoft for being lazy to shave off a modern Windows for netbooks.

If you ignore PR, you can still buy a proper AMD netbook with up to spec ATI gpu. Install either win 7 or stable Debian, there you have a real portable computer.

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An idea: daft or not daft?

Hmmm.... What's the largest downside of netbooks? The screen (not enough vertical pixels!). What are ever more people buying? Tablets- some with lots of pixels.

How about a 'screenless netbook' -an x86 machine with keyboard, designed to use a tablet as its monitor? I appreciate that tablets don't usually work as dumb (USB) monitors, and that setting it to work as a wireless monitor using software would present challenges (if the x86 base doesn't have its own screen to setup this configuration) ... but still, it would be nice. Hell, if Brand X offered a tablet, and Brand Y offered a similarly specified machine but with the option to use it as a dumb monitor, I would buy Brand Y- if only to extend my normal laptop's desktop on occasion.

The x86 base would give you access to legacy software, choice of OS and allow all the usual connections and storage options. The ARM tablet / screen would give you instant-on checking of emails and whatnot.

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Re: An idea: daft or not daft?

There are some "mobile monitors" so that part should be doable. OTOH the setup will likely approach the "Surface Pro" price-range (1000€+) and in that case - I can get a 10'' 1920x1080 tablet-pc that has a display port or two for the occasional "need a bigger screen"

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Re: An idea: daft or not daft?

VNC might be a simple way of using a tablet as a screen...

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Netbooks not attractive for regular users

Netbooks were always a niche market for geeks only. For a little *less* money you could get a notebook PC with much more power running an OS and applications most people already used. Almost every post here is how somebody modified the BIOS or changed the OS or installed more storage or more RAM. Most people aren't that geeky. Netbooks tried to price themselves cheap but even geeks had to modify what was being sold to make them more attractive.

I really wanted to buy a netbook, as I liked their size. But I realized that it was too little product for too much money, and I too would have to spend a lot of time tweaking it. In the end I simply couldn't justify it.

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Re: Netbooks not attractive for regular users

Get yourself to a university. Stick your head in a few lecture theatres. Netbooks have a reasonable chunk of the student market. Small and light enough to take to class, cheap enough to afford. I did once write to the Open University complaining about their mandating of .DOC files and suggesting that telling everyone to install the *totally free* OpenOffice.org wouldn't be onerous. They replied saying they had chosen MS Office because most people already had it and they didn't want to force people to install new software. (!!) I also suggested to them that IT support would be much easier if they offered a standard OU netbook offering a completely uniform operating environment, while also opening up an alternative revenue stream. They didn't go for that either.

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Re: Netbooks not attractive for regular users

In the U.S., there are few netbooks in lecture halls today. They're all budget notebook PCs, sometimes provided by the college. Students want to use them for work during the day and for playing games at night, and professors don't want to worry about incompatibility problems. They also want the big display -- so for a while students bought a desktop and a netbook. But notebooks are an all-in-one device and cheaper.

Also, tablets are now just as powerful as netbooks and are just as portable but have a much bigger display. Touchscreens are in.

And you can find cheap notebook PCs here in the states. If you want something small to check your e-mail or surf the web, well that's what smartphones are for.

In my job, I had to use a Windows VPN client to connect back up to the mothership and had to use Microsoft Office. No netbooks allowed. Most companies here are like that -- they want a one-size-fits-all solution and the notebook PC fits that role.

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Anonymous Coward

Did you know that the best current 11.6" netbook is the HP-dm1?

"Best" here used as a price point that commentators seem to be preferring, but the commentators here seem oblivious of the HP-dm1.

Probably because HP describe it as a laptop, rather than a netbook.

The description "Netbook" and its limited specifications were made by Intel and Microsoft, the 2GB maximum RAM, 1024x600screen, and special-edition 32-bit OS. In practise the initial production runs included b/g WiFi.

It is obvious that a small portable computer should have moved on to be dual-core (in the region of 1.6GHz+) running a 64-bit OS with a 1366 x 768 screen (11.6" popular size makes it cheap) have b/g/n WiFi, and although supplied with a HDD, should be able to be readily converted to a SSD (when the HDD then becomes used for an image back-up) with 4GB RAM to run Windows 7/8 that can be easily upgraded to 8GB (speedier for multiple applications running simultaneously).

In addition to 1920p HDMI out, the APU should flawlessly handle BBC iPlayer at HD specification if your Internet connection is up to it.

The above "netbook" exists - currently on sale at £299 from HP-UK as the HP Pavilion dm1-4341sa Laptop. It is now supplied with Windows-8 64-bit OS that I guess most of the users here might want to change with an app to have the "Start" appearance of Windows-7. Using WiFi /n makes the most significant difference to Internet use compared to the first generation netbooks. And it's HP- there's a maintenance manual and readily available parts.

I still have my Dell-910 (Mini-9) with built in 3G running XP - but it's a thought about how prices have moved that the 32GB SDHC card that is now permanently in place, and the 32GB button-USB stick, both used as if extra drives, would each have cost more than the initial selling price of the Mini-9, if they had been bought at the launch. Although the Mini-9 SSD was notoriously slow and also upgraded to 32GB - it's the dual core CPU running at about the same speed and the wireless/n that makes all the difference to the latest netbooks - my upgraded Mini-9, based on comparison with an MSI Wind U180 2GB Atom N2600 running Win-7 starter (also recommended if 10" size wanted, and the 1024x600 screen is acceptable).

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Re: Did you know that the best current 11.6" netbook is the HP-dm1?

Ahh shiny display. That's why we are ignoring it.

Otherwise it would be OK, though not much different to a refurbished and upgraded Thinkpad X40 which costs half as much.

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Gonna miss netbooks...

Lenovo x120e. I have this little AMD Fusion-powered netbook, 4GB RAM, cheapest 64GB SSD I could find running Win 7, and 1366x768 11" display with extended battery. Totally usable as a road warrior. Has been all over North America with me for work and family vacations and works brilliantly for what I need. Charges devices. Long battery life. Plenty of performance for office apps. Usable screen resolution and keyboard to get actual work done, especially when RDP'ing back into work machines. Runs all my tools. Got it for about half the cost of an Air, including extended warranty and the SSD.

They just hit a sweet spot for a lot of people, they have enough performance to play movies on long flights and enough grunt to get "work" done without being tied to a power source for any significant period of time. And they're small enough to go into a laptop bag sideways, saving room for important stuff like my son's LeapPad.

Gonna hang on to this one. My wife has mostly taken it over anyways, such a small footprint it easily fits in chair pockets so she can get the latest celeb gossip and Youtube idiocy without moving too much and her 8-month pregnant belly makes a perfect table for it since it's so small and gives off almost no heat.

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Re: Gonna miss netbooks...

That unit is a nice one. But quite a bit more powerful than a classic "Netbook" could ever be:

+ 4GB memory (Atom has max 2GB)

+ Full sized SSD (Atom used a slower variant)

And a useful screen resolution. That is more a small notebook

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