It’s been widely reported over the web that Acer and Asus are pulling out of the netbook market as of today effectively ending the netbook as a viable platform. It says a great deal when Asus, who practically invented the netbook, has said they are done. I write not to bury the netbook but to praise it for what it was: a great and cheap way to get things done on the web.
I remember the very first netbook, the Asus EeePC 701. It wasn’t the most powerful thing out there. It had a 900 MHz Celeron, 7 inch screen and the very first netbook ran not Windows, but Linux. It wasn’t long after it came out that I had one and even with it’s minimal specs I loved it and carried it everywhere. I quickly learned how to get rid of the default Linux install and put on Ubuntu and I was loving it. Sure, the trackpad sucked mostly because it was just way too small, but I still trekked that thing everywhere. I used to edit podcasts using the 701 and while it wasn’t the greatest at this task, it did get things done.
Not long after that, I received as a gift from Judie, the Asus EeePC 1000HE. For a LONG time I used ONLY this machine to write for Gear Diary. It came with Windows XP on it, but I never fully booted it favoring Ubuntu and Linux Mint on this machine. This netbook got the most use of all of the netbooks I ever owned. By far this 10 inch lovely was the best netbook I ever had. It was still a single core Atom, but it still got things done.
My last, and current netbook is the Lenovo S10-3t. I originally ran MeeGo on this until not long after I got it, MeeGo became history getting renamed several times. After that I ran almost every major Linux distro on this thing. The 3T was unique in that it has a capacitive touchscreen like the very devices that killed the netbook market in a few short years: the iPad and Android Tablets. I still use it, but I almost never carry it preferring to take my EeePad Transformer with me instead. However, it sits in my home office getting almost daily use as a scratchpad of sorts whenever I need to jot down a phone number or a quick note.
As we get ready to ring in the new year, share your story of your beloved netbook if you fell for them as I did. Even though netbooks as a category are no more, the technology they were based on lives on in other form factors including Google’s Chromebook. So, in a way, the netbook lives on but not as they once were. Farewell Netbooks. Many may not miss you but I sure will.