Rise of Netbooks


Photo: ekosystem

My little family monthly grocery shopping is becoming more of an obsession for me rather than a ritual. I look forward to it every month and we normally do it the first weekend of the month. Considering Bangalore traffic & parking pain, we normally go in the morning off-peak period. And while my wife drags the shopping cart, I’m off to the top floor electronics department.

While DSLR is one in my radar, another piece of technology are the mini-laptop or the newly christened “Netbooks”. Tracking the evolution, first I heard about XO1 OLPC and I’m not sure if it actually benefited the poor & unprivileged children as intended. I’ve never touched one and it never looked serious enough. But I guess the form factor caught the fancy of many.

The first incarnation of Asus Eee PC powered with Celeron M with few Gig of SSD storage, came in later 2007 much later after OLPC, I guess the major brands were scared to test new territories. And till that time, people still couldn’t figure a perfect bracket to categorize this new avatar of laptop. hmm.. mini-laptop, ultra-portable laptop… I tried one of these machine during one of my shopping trips and at 8 inch, 800×640px screen, it was better than surfing the net using a cellphone. The user installed Win XP version was dragging though.

I heard about new player MSi Wind, never touched one, but when I saw the new Acer Aspire One, 9inch (1024×600px screen), Atom powered, 160 Gb HDD, 1 Gb RAM, with pre-installed Win XP OS phew… that’s pushing the limit to reach me, the consumer :)

Smaller than a tabloid, lighter than a hardcover. You can call this the paperback version of the laptop. We can’t call it Netbook, since tech company PSION claiming it owns the trademark of the term.

While Acer One doesn’t have bluetooth, some of the latest entree from Lenovo, DELL, HP comes bundled with bluetooth, while most config remains the same. And yes all devoid of a DVD drive. The latest entrant is the Sony VAIO P, costing an exorbitant estimated street price of Rs 50,000, while most netbook is around Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.

Did you know: Psion Teklogix, a UK company, on 23 Dec 2008 reportedly claimed trademark rights to their discontinued product name ‘Netbook’.

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