You may or may not have heard of the term “Netbooks”. They seem to be all the rage in personal computing these days. So what are they? Netbooks are the new class of mobile computers that offer an alternative to laptops. Basically, they are a smaller version of the laptop, both in form factor and computing ability to execute resource intensive computing applications. They may very well be the next revolution in mobile computing. Computer manufacturers are now offering a scaled down version of the ubiquitous laptop. The alternative they are offering is one that is smaller, thinner and inexpensive. Inexpensive as compared to the price of a regular laptop and in some cases even less expensive than a mobile phone. So is this scaled down version of a computing platform for you? Are you willing to give up your laptop for a netbook?

Before you decide on purchasing a netbook, it would be good idea to identify and understand your requirements for a mobile computing platform. What do you do with that current laptop of yours? Chances are that you use it more often to surf the web, run office applications for document processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email, etc. If you are a savvy web user, you probably could do all of this on the web. Is there any local application on your laptop that could utilize the entire computing resources of your laptop? This probably is a rarity for most laptop users. Games, photo, video, music editing applications, etc., could be part of the mix but even some of these have online alternatives.

Most netbooks run windows software. The operating system that comes installed is mostly Windows XP. So there is nothing new on the OS front that users would require to learn. Specifications in general include the Intel Atom N series chip with a clock speed rating of 1.6 GHz and installed RAM at 1 GB with the ability to expand to 2 GB. A screen size of 10.1″ TFT may be a limiting factor for some users, but given the clarity of screens today and the primary motivation being a smaller form factor, this could be easily overlooked.

Netbooks are available from most major computer manufacturers most notably from Acer and Asustek. Both Acer and Asustek have a wide product variety and attractive price points, especially suitable for students and business users. Netbooks could serve as the standard computing platform for students in schools, colleges and universities. Small and medium business owners and corporate executives who are out and about, could also benefit from netbooks. Sales force personnel who are constantly on the move visiting customers, could use netbooks to connect with back office applications over the web from a customer location.

Today, more work is being done on bringing netbooks capable of working with different operating systems (e.g. Linux), chip sets etc., to make low cost computing feasible for all user groups. Looking forward into the future, you can expect to see faster, thinner and less expensive computing platforms. Click on Netbook Review to see a list of the latest netbooks available. Compare features and specs to find one that would suit your needs the most.

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