Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Netbooks - What Happened To Instant On? Give Us A Real Netbook

One of the best advertised features of the netbooks when the EEE PC came out was the promise of fast startup or instant on and long battery life.

Well, so far, I have not seen anything close to anything like it.  The promises of solid state drives and startups haven't been what we were promised.

In fact, things have gone in reverse.  To drive prices down, cheap and older motherboards have been used like Intel's 950 chipset.  Standard drives became the normal as netbook makers realized people are using their netbooks as laptop or desktop replacements.  In fact, battery life have  been dismal and the native Linux OS were inefficient and largely replaced with the aged but true Windows XP.  If not XP or Linux, then its OS X.

I think it's time someone come out with a real netbook.  One that boots up in seconds.  One that offers long battery life because it uses fast efficient SSD drives and a power management that allows for all day use instead of the 2-3 hours or the 5 hours of battery life only because of 6-cell batteries.  

Make it a real netbook.  Get rid of the video out.  Do we really need HD playback?  A netbook should be not replacing any regular computers.  If it's a task or job needs a regular laptop, get a real desktop.

I suppose today's state of netbooks maybe largely due to the sagging global economy.  But at the same time, increasing netbook sales have failed to augment regular computer sales but instead contribute to shrinking revenues and markets.

It is a wonder why Sony's Viao P costs closer to $1000? Apple has not come out with their answer to the netbook?  It's quite simple.  There is no answer to the netbook as it exists today.  But there are some qualities that netbook makers should consider for what we originally though netbooks would bring to mobility:
  • Light.  3lbs are fine but there are subnotes in that range.  The Macbook Air quickly comes to mind.  Two pounds would be ideal.  2.5 is acceptable if it means a bigger battery.
  • Fast.  E-mails.  Surfing the web.  IM.  Standard office or social tasks that make up much of daily digital communication.
  • Wireless.  3G.  Wi-Fi.  Wireless USB.  No cords.  Even wireless charging.  Evidently, the technology is there.  Ask Palm about charging the Pre.
  • Long runtime.  I don't want to go overboard here.  I'm not talking about days.  I can dream but I dare not make such a request.  But make it run for a day.  Certainly, that isn't too much to ask.  
Are such conditions unreasonable to ask or difficult to meet for the likes of Apple, Sony, or an innovative and hungry startup?  Maybe there's a reason why netbooks are so cheap.  It's a good thing.   However, it doesn't mean we should accept the state of mobility as it is today.

Note:  When asked about Apple's answer to the netbook, Jobs jokingly (or maybe he wasn't) answered the iphone was Apple's answer to the netbook.  No, it's not.  But close.  Recent days, it's been blogged to death that Apple has "ideas" about the netbook market.  I wonder if Jobs hinted at Apple's plans but no one was really listening?

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