Opinion: Questioning the netbook phenomenon
Can any computer maker, even Apple, ignore the trend?
Computerworld - It's human nature to get on the bandwagon of a "good thing." Take the screaming hype that is the netbook phenomenon, for example. Although it's clear the netbook trend is real, my hype meter wagged over into the "tilt" field when I read these words from Dan Nystedt of the IDG News Service:
"The network will truly become the computer, as Sun Microsystems used to say. Or in more modern terms, the Cloud for consumers will have arrived."
Nystedt was writing to express surprise at Apple COO Tim Cook's recent negative comments about netbooks. Like Nystedt, I don't think any computer manufacturer can afford to ignore the netbook trend. I've even suggested in the past that Apple deliver a low-cost, netbook-style Mac.
I also can't agree with Cook that the netbook experience is voided by what he described as "cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience" during a quarterly financial conference call on Wednesday. On the other hand, Cook's apparent condemnation of all existing netbooks does not mean that Apple is pooh-poohing the entire idea. Macworld's editor in chief, Jason Snell, makes this point better than I could in his article Apple to netbooks: Drop dead.
Snell writes: "Apple ... often runs down its competitors in a category before introducing its own game-changing product in that category." I've found that statement to be true as well.
If you buy into that interpretation, Cook's comments imply that Apple's netbook product, if it has one, is likely to be one of two things:
1.) An iPhone 3.0 software-based, iPhone-derivative tablet-like device that Apple does not at all position as a netbook, but that is likely to be half smartphone, half small form-factor computer. Apple's incredible success with its iPhone App Store has to be factored into the advantage that such a device would have.
2.) A lower-cost Mac with limitations that keep it from cutting into other Mac sales, but with a very intriguing, game-changing hardware design. More than likely, this option isn't close to launch.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is also positioning Windows 7 for netbooks, and the message seems to be clear to me. It's aimed at netbook manufacturers: You want to use Windows 7 on netbooks? We're going to use some of our power at generating negative press to outmuscle you into paying the full notebook freight for Windows 7 instead of the lesser price for reduced-functionality Windows 7. Microsoft isn't targeting this at netbook buyers. If it were, it wouldn't be sending the message now. It would wait and quietly slip it under the rug at Windows 7 launch time.
- Google keeps quiet on Android laptop plans
- Qualcomm shows Eee PC running Android OS
- Companies to show several ARM netbooks at Computex
- SJVN: Ubuntu and Moblin Linux to work together
- Bye-bye Kindle, e-reader screens coming for netbooks
- HP snubs Moblin, rolls out Mi Linux-Atom netbook
- In-depth: Next year's netbooks -- notebook, meet smartphone
- Scot Finnie: Questioning the netbook phenomenon
- 3G netbooks: Are they the cell phones of the future?
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Laptops White Papers | Webcasts