Should you buy a netbook now? Let’s learn from history …

Posted: February 13, 2009 in Uncategorized

Recently, many of my friends have been considering adding a netbook to their stack of portable computers. Their reasons:

  • Small
  • Great Battery Life
  • Does just what I need on the go

Those of us who are early adopters know better than to get the first generation of any product genre. Remember MP3 players? Mmm… that Diamond Rio sure was nice, if you liked listening to 12 songs! Those BluRay players were cool, until you realized resuming a movie from where you left off was a nightmare. And what about disc playback being a crapshot?

A Trend Emerges: Given two years, we see a lot of great products build on their "promising" technologies. The iPod made a huge difference in market acceptance for digital music players, and costs for portable hard drives and flash media came down as the product gained popularity. The BluRay players of today are finally coming down in price, but the media has yet to become affordable. However, the media affordability issue has spawned a renewed interest in movie download services. Give it another year – about the time the HD optical format war ended – and the two year mark will prove once again that the technology will likely be ready for mass consumer adoption in one form or another.

The same, too, goes for netbooks. Right now they’re inexpensive, but that’s it. Battery life sucks, unless you pay more money. Processors are dogged slow. Screen resolution isn’t on par with consumer expectations. Yet, Intel is making strides on the processor front, and Via continues to innovate. Apple has patents pending on ARM processor designs. Interesting! Give it another 18 months and let’s see what happens when we hit the two year mark. Sony’s P series netbooks already show promise, but at a higher price than most consumers will accept…

So, in 18 months time, we should have:

  • The third or fourth generation of Intel’s Atom processors, and competitor’s processors
  • Windows 7, with its svelte streamlining for mobile devices, maybe even SP1
  • Probably more Windows Live services geared towards Netbooks and Mobile devices. Live Mesh 2.0, anyone?
  • Better battery technologies for longer battery life and less battery weight. Look at Toshiba instant charge batteries and Maxell fuel cells.
  • Higher resolution, lower power, thinner LED displays

What do you think? I’d love your comments…

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