Casual computing has hit the mainstream. Obsessable has a great comparator of Netbooks for the holiday season.
I fly coach. I can count on one hand the times I’ve had the laptop actually on my lap en route. I’ve wanted a notebook for years, but the notebooks have been really pricey. When a friend got an Asus (or an Averatec?) I sort of poo-pooed it. It was the right size and price; but it was, in my opinion, under-configured. This summer Dave Winer got an Asus Eee in time to blog the Democratic National Convention. He fell in love with it and I can see why. (The picture above shows his Asus beside his MacBook Pro.)
A few years ago I was hopped up about getting a notebook PC, something half the size and weight of the Dell I was lugging around in the Tumi. Odd that the bag was probably worth more than the laptop, but oh well… The Dell died when I was in Minneapolis on my way to San Francisco. I picked up a Vaio on sale at Best Buy to replace it, and *poof* there went the notebook budget. What the Vaio and the Dell had in common besides weight and huge-i-tude was expanded configuration: big disks, lotsa memory, many ports and plugs and jacks to hook-up everything from your digital camera to your SACD burner… all that and a nice sized keyboard.
The notebook to netbook evolution is at hand. The notebook form factor that you used to pay thousands to own, is available now for under $500. The netbooks may still be under-configured compared to your honking gamer’s desktop or the luggable laptop you’ve been schlepping with you forever, but they have plenty of processor power, memory, and disk storage. The keyboards are okay. And with a netbook you can say goodbye to those embarrassing burns on your thighs that the overheated laptop leaves. Read Dave’s post for a user’s perspective.
(Photo credit: Dave Winer, Flickr