Netbooks are filling a perfect niche. They are really cheap as far as computers go. They could be selling about three times faster if the price was about $100, which was the price of a Vic 20 in 1982, but even at $400 for a fairly current feeling Asus Eee 901 it’s a pretty good price. Asus offers cheaper computers, like the Eee 701 at $250, which allows a savvy consumer the chance to reflect on what would be lost by buying a computer that was too cheap. But my recent trip to Vancouver showed that the Eee 701 isn’t in stores there: One guess is that it’s too cheap so it distracts consumers from buying more expensive computers.
Netbooks are good for several reasons:
1. Kids – Netbooks are relatively cheap so they can be bought for kids to do their work, and they’re not too heavy to carry around. More and more schools are encouraging their students to have notebook computers.
2. Travel – Netbooks are only about 1 kg, so they’re not too heavy to throw into your backpack. When I went to Vancouver, I was thinking about carrying my 2.4 kg Asus A8 everywhere, but instead I brought my wife’s Eee. I was really glad, because I could just pop it in the bottom of my backpack and barely felt it. It was really easy to get online at a coffee shop. I got into a discussion about netbooks with a guy in a coffee shop who had an Acer Aspire One. I didn’t mention to him that the Eee was about 40% cheaper than his computer. But he made some good points, like that the Aspire could play movies at sufficient quality for him.
3. Remote desktop – The price is cheap enough so that people who buy their first notebook computer can get a netbook without much strain on their pocketbook. If you want to do processor intensive stuff, just connect with your desktop remotely. I tried to encourage my roommate to try this route, but it was a bit difficult. Until you can use a virtual computer on the cloud without any hassle of setting up, I think that it will not be an option for many. But for businesses with IT, they should definitely consider this route for employees who are often on the road!
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