Death and Rebirth of the Netbook

As much as some of the Wintel “partners” would wish small cheap computers to go away, the netbook keeps going like the Energizer Bunnytm. Shipments are down quite a bit from a year ago with all the noise about smart thingies but the netbook is beloved because it is small, cheap, portable and comes with a keyboard.

Intel has just announced an Atom processor designed for netbooks. At 1.6gHz it can be fanless but at 1.8gHz it wants a fan. In spite of 32nm technology and lots of features to reduce idle power consumption the thing must still be a hog. It uses 3.5 to 10 W while ARMed CPUs are way less than 1W per core. These gadgets are dual-core/dual-threaded. I guess Intel expects heavier batteries will do the trick…

Nevertheless, Intel sees that the netbook just will not die and wants to stay in the game. This allows M$ to keep selling licences for netbooks too even as ARM takes a hold of the market. ASUS eeePad Transformer Prime comes with a keyboard but it’s not that cheap. Smartbooks are not going away. GNU/Linux is always available to run on netbooks or smartbooks.

No, the death of netbooks is actually a continuous rebirth. The world hungers for small cheap computers, not hair-driers. Intel knows that. That’s why they were embarrassed by the success of Atom and why they are planning to crank out new versions even if they will not fly on smartphones.

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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2 Responses to Death and Rebirth of the Netbook

  1. oe says:

    The SSD netbooks it has been found in the lab I work in lab make excellent data collection point units, where cost isn’t too much worry. Bash scripting on the usb port is very powerful to poll instruments against (assuming ascii polling and responses) and Wifi and/or LAN streaming of the data works well. Harder to find are those with DB-9 UART serial ports – these are especially handy. Coupled with ssh remote control on a console or X-windows they are very convenient. These units are very Linux friendly seems ACER, ASUS and the others take pains to ensure the hardware is GNU/LINUX friendly, despite shipping in the states with the substandard usual choice.

  2. Ray says:

    I still say that tablets took over the netbook market, as they can be made cheaper with less moving parts.

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