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January 12th, 2010

NetbookThe only thing constant is change, right? This past year proved that the computer industry still had product niches left to develop and exploit. The rise of the “netbook” – a low- to medium-power, small-format computer with a bright screen, built-in WiFi, and basic productivity software that will never be confused for a rootin’ tootin’ laptop, like the new MacBook rental – proves the computer companies are still thinking about their product lines (and bottom lines, of course).

The move to “pocket computers” follows the trend to smartphones, of which the iPhone and the new Google-powered Droid are prime examples. The phones are truly pocket-sized, can run tons of “apps” that are easily downloaded for low or no cost, and are great for quick messages as well as long talks. The netbooks, most with keyboards between 60-80% the size of a normal PC laptop, offer real e-mail interaction, a normal Web experience with a real browser, memory card slots, USB ports, Ethernet — wow, just like a real computer!

Critical mass for netbooks

Interestingly, it was the niche players — companies like Acer and Asus that were more business- than consumer-oriented, and also sold motherboards and other components — that drove the development of netbooks. Soon enough, major players like Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard which makes everything from netbooks to high-power desktops (available as a rental), were in the game.

You won’t be doing Vegas Video editing on a netbook, and forget Final Cut Pro as Apple, despite persistent rumors, has steadfastly refused to enter the fray with a “Mac netbook.” The processors, although Intel, aren’t quad-core, dual-core or even hard-core (like some tried-and-true Pentiums). More powerful CPUs will not be possible until better battery technology is available, and dissipating heat is always a problem in small spaces where fans don’t fit.

“Phone-replacement” computers?

Businesses may find a use for netbooks as smartphone replacements, but they are simply not fast enough, and the screens are too small, to be true laptop replacements. If you need a powerful HP or Mac laptop in your line of work, an Atom-powered HP Mini is just not going to cut it. In fact, if you need a few laptops for your department to stay in touch at a conference, take notes, send e-mails and browse prospects’ (or competitors’) sites, you’d be pushing a poor little netbook into a nervous breakdown.

As always,  get the right tool for the job. If you need help figuring out just what that is, call one of our expert Account Executives today. If you like, explain your situation in an e-mail or, if you know what you need, just send us a Quick Rental Quote form. We will make sure you have exactly what you need to do the job right.

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