Friday, March 12, 2010

Death of the Netbook?

The first week of April we will all see the emergence of a new device on the technology forefront.  A new device that will either make it, or break it.  However, with the level of general enthusiasm from Apple devotee’s and non-devotee’s alike, the iPad looks to be poised for success.  Why?  It is an amazing device giving the average user the feeling of being a computing genius.

ipad-review The Apple iPad is a device that has been within the imagination of millions.  A light weight device that does away with keyboards and mice.  That is all in one and easy to use.  Has the capability to deliver everything that we deem important without requiring a lap to put it on.  It looks and feels a little bit like Star Trek, yet elegant enough to not make its user looks like a nerd.

This is why the netbook’s days are numbered.  The Netbook was introduced as a small device to combat the pricy issues of a Laptop.  However, since the issuance of Netbooks, Laptops have seen even more significant price drops over recent years.  With Laptop prices being under $500, it begs to question the point in having an under-sony-p-series-netbookpowered computing device that is barely a step up from the iPhone and Android phones, and at least two steps behind that of a traditional $500 laptop.

The problem with the Netbook is that it generally isn’t great at anything.  Steve Jobs was right!   Most Netbooks do not handle streaming video very well.  Their processors are under-powered to handle a lot of the mainstream content that is on the internet today.  To top that off, that screen is miserably small!  Put it on your lap and it is acer-aspire-one-a110-ab-sapphire-netbookridiculous.  Netbooks may be great for kids, but for adults, and business oriented individuals, these devices fall flat to the point of a $200 to $300 paper weight.

Right now, the iPad’s major draw back that still gives a slight bit of favor to Netbooks is that it does not have Java and Flash support.  Many websites still rely heavily on Flash and Java, but more so on Flash today.  Many free game sites use Flash as a means to deliver fun time killers.  Yes, granted, with HTML5 and other new web based languages coming out, we will be able to accomplish these effects and games, but right now it isn’t cost effective.

Another thing that puts Netbooks slightly over the iPad is the keyboard.  Many people are not accustomed to doing everything on the screen.  We live in a world of tactile experience.   However, given a little time and patience, everyone will adapt and find touch screens second nature.  I will attest to that!

ipad-viewPersonally, unless we see a hybrid style Netbook/Tablet, the Netbook has outlived its usefulness.  However, I do not think the iPad is the way to go.  I rather see an Android powered “tablet” simply because the Android still promotes an open environment for not only the users, but the developers as well.

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