Tuesday 17 April 2012 at 12:49 pm.
It's arguable that netbooks have been somewhat eclipsed lately in the press by tablets and indeed ultrabooks, as well. But are they really lacking, or are people's priorities not the same as the initial target market for these mini-laptops?
Netbooks are, it's worth remembering, not as limited as tablets. In fact, they're sitting on specs that didn't look out of place in a laptop several years ago, and are perfectly capable of performing all sorts of tasks. Tablets, however, are not designed with capability in mind in the same way that a laptop, PC or, of course, a netbook is. Tried playing on a netbook? Works fine. Tablet? Not the same.
Now this is in no way an issue with the example, more an issue that results in the required "app" replacement for tasks accomplishable without custom software on a netbook. Tablets have no taskbar, no app-switching in the same way you'd find a computer pulling off without a problem, so it's arguable that a netbook is definitely something you'll need to use if you really want to work.
Speaking of work - the keyboard. There's a reason more than one tablet comes with an attachable keyboard option - people are not going to enjoy losing the tactile sensation of a good keyboard when using a tablet. The touchscreen keyboards may not lack in quality, but their accessibility for those who just want the tap-tap-tap of proper physical keys isn't great. Slower typing, less productivity, a new learning curve, and more frustration.
Netbooks are going nowhere - they're simply becoming a more specialised tool for those who want to accomplish more than basic tablet tasks. Although the iPad is showing just how powerful tablets can be, there's a reason some people love the idea of owning a 13"-display machine - compact, keyboard-equipped and capable of using a more conventional OS, the laptop's younger, smaller sibling is going nowhere.
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