Latest technologies: Netbooks

When the term first came to public notice, many thought that it was a typo that was supposed to be ‘notebooks’. Netbooks got their name from the fact that they are mainly used for surfing the Internet. These portable devices offer a great compromise between a handheld device and a full-fledged laptop and.

It all started with Asus’ Eee PC and then most other major companies brought out their own versions of these mini portable devices that are the bonsais of the mobile computing world.

These netbooks have been running modified Linux distributions for the most part. But some recent ones feature Vista home basic. There are also some models that are sold with a sort of ‘light’ installation of Windows XP. Microsoft of course is not all too happy about that and has openly declared that they are looking into the netbook market for making up some lost revenue.

A recent development has given the netbook market a performance boost. Intel has released a new chip called the Atom, aptly named because its key target area is the scaled down devices market. This of course includes netbooks mostly for now.

Netbooks have become really popular amongst people who are using it to access the Internet on the go. But this popularity perhaps would not have been possible without the advent of mobile broadband and its rapid spread in all major countries in all parts of the world.

Netbooks have filled a general gap in the market where people craved more than a tiny mobile handset screen but something more portable than a full sized laptop. It was really ingenious market targeting by Asus when the introduced the Eee PC because no one really thought of the possibility of this segment before them it seems.

The increasing popularity of the netbook is also reflected by the many new models that are constantly being launched by major companies. Companies that did not previously make computing devices are also getting in. Like the latest netbook from Archos, who are originally makers of digital media players.

Top players like Toshiba, Acer, Hp, Samsung and even Sony have stepped in to make good of the opportunity while it lasts. The large sales of the netbooks might also be due to the depression. That might sound like a contradiction but many people just want some notebook features but do not want to pay for a full-blown laptop. Hence they go for the netbooks, which are easier on the pocket and offer almost everything a notebook will do in a smaller way.

Endorsements by mobile carriers and providers are also big reason why netbook are so popular. Many netbooks come bundled with mobile broadband connections and sometimes even the other way around. Some netbooks also have onboard broadband connectivity options so a precious USB port is freed up because a dongle is not necessary.

So far, 2009 looks like a promising year for netbooks as many new models are set to hit the market and advancements in the segment are in the pipeline.