Tablets WIll Not Finish Off Netbooks in 2011

Despite eWeek and others touting the idea that the netbook is dead, I hold that netbooks will survive and thrive in 2011. The reasons are many:

  • A physical keyboard can be better than a touch keyboard: tactile feedback matters. That’s why we still teach “touch” typing.
  • You can add touch to a netbook.
  • Tablets with slide-out keyboards are here. Are they netbooks version 2?
  • A netbook with GNU/Linux + ARM beats that other OS any day.
  • Prices of netbooks are still falling.

M$’s stated intention with releasing that other OS for netbooks was to kill them/up-sell them. That has worked to a major degree with several OEMs and retailers but with ARM now very competitivie against x86 in performance and power consumption, the netbook will survive as just another form of diversity in IT. With competition, every form of delivery of IT can survive. Whether the netbook thrives is another matter. I think it will but only time will tell.

People like me, with big hands, will always prefer a keyboard and may just as well plug in a real keyboard at my desk. Will I want a netbook or a tablet when I go mobile? Netbook for sure. How many folks are like me? Quite a few: tall old men and big guys of all ages will probably prefer a netbook. The trend is to allowing more diversity in IT, not less.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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3 Responses to Tablets WIll Not Finish Off Netbooks in 2011

  1. Ray says:

    One problem: The keyboards are way too small, too small for a average human’s hand. You end up pressing the wrong buttons, and it gets frustrating to use them. Give me a full size keyboard any day over a netbook.

    Oh, if tablets won’t kill netbooks, tabooks will 🙂

  2. lpbbear says:

    Quite a few years ago there was a different hyped up “tablet” wave. The medical clinic where I was employed in their IT department bought into the idea. It never went anywhere and they ended up sitting in our IT storage room collecting dust.

    So now there is another bunch of hype about them. While I am sure they could have some uses, for me, they are not worth having.

    I carry a work bag for outside jobs. One of the items I now carry in that work bag is a netbook running Linux. For years I was stuck carrying a full size laptop with the weight of thing nearly ripping my arm from my socket as I went from job to job. I used to wonder why hardware manufacturers didn’t pull their heads for their rearends and create a smaller version of a laptop. Finally they did, the netbook.

    From my point of view a netbook is a far superior solution to a “tablet”. A netbook folds in half to conserve space. Its lighter than a laptop. It has a hard drive. They are reasonably powerful. They have actual keyboards. Because it folds in half the screen is not likely to get scratched in a work bag during transit where a tablet probably would. They generally come with usb, sound, wireless and ethernet.

    All in all a MUCH more usable device than a “tablet”.
    In fact I view tablets as basically gadgets or expensive toys. Yes, I am sure they can have their limited uses also but as for me I see no point in owning one or buying one.

    So quite obviously I am not at all impressed by the whole “tablet” idea. Its been done before and I think once the shine comes off the “Apple” the public’s interest in them will fade away until the next fad “wave” hits sometime in the future.

  3. Richard Chapman says:

    Every time I read about the coming days of pads, tablets, net-things, I have this vision of Steve Jobs on stage about 4 years in the future. He’s presenting his latest trend-thing that *will* take the world by storm. It’s a box, about the size of a toaster with a semi-large flat-screen monitor, speakers and (drum roll please) a full sized keyboard attached. The price range will be $2000 to $4000. The hardware will roughly compare to what you get for $400 at Best Buy today. And they will sell like hotcakes because they will come in some, as yet to be determined, color. But the biggest selling point, the point Steve’s great insight discovered, was that just because you can type on glass, doesn’t mean you’ll want to.

    As a steering device, the joystick has been around since before WWII but we still use steering wheels in our cars. They’re bigger and they are harder to move but those are features not a faults.

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