Say Hello to My Little Friend . . .

Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Okay, I admit it, sometimes I get it completely wrong.

When netbooks (those small, ultra-light portable computers) first arrived on the scene, I thought they were an interesting little niche product. Sure, they were compact, lightweight, and even occasionally stylish. There were also, in my opinion, woefully underpowered. Why would someone in their right mind spend that kind of money when, for a little more money, they could get a full-featured notebook computer?

Several months ago, I tried one out of curiosity. I spent probably a grand total of less than 30 minutes with it before concluding that, although it seemed fast enough, the screen was too small, the smaller-than-usual keyboard made typing on it maddeningly annoying. That, for me, seemed to be the end of it.

I completely missed the point. It wasn't about power; it was about portability. For many people, the main uses of their computer are for checking e-mail and browsing the web. Neither of these activities require a lot of computing firepower. Provide these in a computer that is not only relatively inexpensive, but also portable and, apparently, you have a winner.

Through a somewhat complex series of events, I ended up owning one of these netbook computers. Although I don't use it as primary system, I also can't imagine not having it. Its portability makes it ideal for when I need a computer along to check e-mail and perform various activities on the web. It is perfect for when I want to wonder around the house, but be available via e-mail or instant messages.

I've also discovered that it is capable of running Microsoft Office 2003 capably. (It's no speed demon in that regard, but it more than adequately handles basic word processing without me having to worry about formatting hiccups transferring files between Works and Word.)

While I'm not ready to give up my desktop system, as the price-to-performance ratio is still better there, I can now see why netbooks are all the rage. I'm even ready to believe that these systems are poised to fundamentally change the consumer personal computer market for the reasons given above.

So, yes, contrary to popular belief, I am capable of admitting when I'm wrong.