The new killer netbook feature? MacOS X compatibility!

No one can possibly deny that Netbooks are the hottest new segment of the PC market.  Whether it is:

  • the global economy tightening budgets
  • the miniaturization and commidization of Netbook-type parts
  • the second computer for an already saturated PC market

..they seem to have hit the sweet spot for computer users.  

With the announcement of Sony's upcoming Netbook this week, just about every PC Manufacturer has entered this space, except one. 

Apple.

This has created a void which Mac users – who would want to be Netbook owners – are left with a few options:

  • Buy a Netbook with XP or Linux 
  • Buy MacBook Air which is about three to five times the price of a typical netbook and has the same footprint as a larger MacBook
  • Buy a five year old 12-inch Powerbook and pretend
  • Use an iPod or iPhone as a netbook (physical keyboard?)

Never fear, though: since Apple went to Intel, hackers have been building "Hackintoshes" that run Mac OSX on PC hardware.  First, it was desktops for the most part, but since the netbook category spawned, this has been the hot area of Hackintosh development.  It is so hot, in fact, that Netbook makers have publicly and privately started making Mac drivers.

Furthermore, sites have started popping up that compare different Netbooks based on their OSX compatibility levels. 

netbook-macos-compatibility

Table from Boingboing

Lots of how-to guides have also propped up (see below).  Communities are forming around hackintosh netbook platforms as well.  MSI has produced Mac OSX drivers for their netbook wireless hardware and put the results in their OSX forums.

People are even developing their own Drivers for devices like the EEE PC (original Netbook)

There has been a lot of speculation (by me mostly) that Apple will create a Netbook based on the next generation ARM Platform.   If Apple releases this device, it will kill a great deal of the Hackintosh market.  They could also release updates to their OS that impede the ability to install on non-Apple hardware, as Apple clone maker Psystar alleges.

Until these things happen, I anticipate that the hottest PC platform and the best OS will continue to be hacked together enthusiastically.  The temptation for me and the friends around me for a micro OSX machine that costs less than $400 is almost too much to pass up. 

How To Guides:

Running Mac OS X on a Netbook: Guide, Tips, Tutorial, Walkthrough [Ditii]

Run Mac OS X on an Eee PC [Wired]

Installing OSX on Eee 1000h [Wikidot]

OS X For the Eee PC 901 and 1000H [Mac Eee]

Install OS X on the MSI Wind [Make]

Guide to Installing OS X on a Lenovo Ideapad s10 [Netbook Tech]

OSX on a Samsung NC10 [Wired]

Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2017 results
Shop Tech Products at Amazon