In the past few years, a new type of personal computer has been creating a great deal of excitement. The netbook is a small notebook that is used mostly for email and web browsing. Some manufacturers call them mini-laptops or sub-notebooks but netbook is the most commonly used term. They are not as powerful as regular notebooks and can only perform simple tasks. Despite this, their popularity has grown rapidly as people discover how convenient they are.
A netbook is a portable computer that resembles a notebook but is smaller and lighter. It is also less expensive because it lacks many of the standard features, such as a widescreen display and optical drive. Netbooks are not as powerful as the current generation of notebooks, but they are generally more powerful than ones that are only a few years old. A netbook can be upgraded with better components later on but it usually works out to be cheaper just to purchase a new model.
Given that a netbook is not as powerful as a notebook, many people question why they should buy one. They are not designed for running complex applications but they are more than adequate for simple tasks, like using web browsers and email clients. Netbooks take up very little space in a backpack and are great for taking notes during a business meeting or lecture. While the latest generation of video games cannot be played on one, there are a huge number of browser games on the internet that can be played.
The growing popularity of cloud computing is another reason for the success of the netbook. Cloud computing refers to the use of simple computers to access online applications and data. With most of the work and storage done by powerful computers over the internet, end users only need a simple terminal, such as a netbook. There is a huge number of free applications available on the internet, including email, word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation tools.
Netbooks have processors that are significantly less powerful than those inside the latest notebooks and desktop computers. They also have less memory and storage capacity, although storage can be improved by using a thumbdrive or memory card, provided that there is a slot for one. The battery is also smaller and does not last as long as the battery in a notebook. Connectivity is very important since much of the work done on a netbook requires access to the internet, so a wireless adapter should be an essential feature. Both the display, keyboard, and trackpad are smaller than those on a regular notebook.
The choice of operating system for a netbook is somewhat restricted by its limited hardware. Most netbooks have Windows XP installed instead of Vista for this very reason. Anyway, many people prefer to use Windows XP instead of Vista so they see it as an advantage. The Apple line of netbooks use Mac OS, of course. There are also some netbooks that use Linux, a open-source operating system that is free to use. By using Linux, manufacturers can sell cheaper netbooks because there is no license fee included in the price.
A netbook is a great accessory to have in a briefcase, backpack, or school bag. However, it is not about to replace the desktop or notebook anytime soon. The small keyboard and trackpad can make using a netbook slow, difficult and sometimes painful. The lack of wireless access severely limits its productivity to mostly letter writing. Many netbook functions, such as email, can also be handled just as well by a mobile phone or personal digital assistant. Netbooks need much better processors and larger displays before they will begin to compete with notebooks.