Michael Arrington over at Tech Crunch wrote an interesting article stating that he thinks netbooks aren’t good enough. Needless to say, there’s a lot of criticism of Arrington’s article. I am, of course, am one of those critics.
Netbooks are, by some, being touted as being useful machines for new users. That might be true of very new users like kids. However, someone who is a power user would probably not be happy with just a Eee or an Aspire One as their only machine. In those cases, you find power users using a netbook almost exactly like they would use a full sized piece of hardware. They just might not be using it in places where it would be fine to bring a bigger machine. For example, in the office, a full sized laptop is the way to go. You will need the power when your in those situations. Your doing hardcore work. However, even in the case of needing to do work in a weird place, a Netbook would suffice. Netbooks can be used like a full laptop in situations where it’s not convenient to bring a full sized machine. One example might be on the airplane in coach. Most full sized machines may work ok in that situation but it’s so much nicer to pull out one of these little machines and tap out a document or a e-mail. The coffee shop is another place. Fullsized machines might full the entire table at a Starbucks and not leave enough room for your coffee. With a netbook, you may be able to have room for your coffee and a scone!
Netbooks also work very well, in my experience, for viewing media. I can view almost any type of media I want on my Eee PC. That’s not true of devices like the iPod Touch. Almost every PMP out there has at least one codec it doesn’t support. My Eee PC supports all of the current codecs as well as ones that have yet to be written. The screen size is bigger than a iPod Touch or a iPhone and it even has stereo speakers. Sure they aren’t the greatest speakers, but neither is the one in the iPhone 3G.
I think the main issue with these Netbooks is the OS choice. Netbook manufacturers are trying to shoehorn Windows Vista in some of these. Windows XP is also being used. While XP will run on lesser hardware than Vista, it’s still a little much for the little machines to handle sometimes. I have Eeebuntu installed on my Eee PC with the NBR features and it works amazingly well. I have run almost every app on my Eee that I run on my Lenovo with a full Kunbuntu install and the Eee performs very well. Sure, there are times it’s sluggish. That can be fixed by me ordering up a 2 GB SODIMM and upgrading the RAM. 1 GB works fine, but I bet the occasional sluggishness I experience will go away.
Other Linux distros are also making strides towards making the netbook experience better on Linux that ever.
So what really is Arrington’s beef? He says he’s tried them all and wasn’t at all happy with the performance. Could it be he’s trying to build his own netbook…err tablet? Maybe he’s just a jaded executive who has all of the high performing equipment he can get his hands on. I am not sure, but I am one user who hasn’t had anything but a lot of fun with his Eee as well as gotten a lot of work done.
My entire review on the Skooba Checkthrough was done on my Eee in McDonald’s and at home. That includes resizing and leveling the color on the photos and cropping them as well. I never once wished I had a full sized machine. It was almost perfect. Sure, I can use a bigger keyboard, but the next netbook I get will have that. HP’s Mini 1000 or the Eee PC 1000h are my 2 candidates. The HP has the better keyboard of the two, but the Eee’s is fine as well.
When all is said and done, there’s a place for netbooks. There’s a place for full sized laptops. I still believe there’s a market for non cellphone PDA’s too, even though the category is all but dead. All I know is netbooks are the hottest segment now. More people are buying them than ever and the uptake is good even on the Linux based Netbooks.
So what do you think? Is Arrington off his rocker? Comment away!