Like all things electronic, the size of components continues to shrink. But at what point can things get too small? Laptops can suffer from this trend of diminishing returns. While users want portability they also want power.
There is a new trend in portable computing. It is called the Netbook. So named as its uses are related mostly to Internet related tasks. This new breed of laptops are very portable and compact. Computer chip technology has allowed for this machines to have useful power in a small relatively inexpensive package. While most laptops have screens from 13 inches to 17 inches, Netbooks are in the 7-10 inch range. This size is not conducive to long term computing tasks but works reasonably well for less intensive tasks.
I was fortunate enough to be given a Netbook to demo and test. I thought I would give my impressions thus far.
The Netbook I have at this moment is the Acer Aspire One. The only specs I’ll give here is that it has an 8.9 inch screen, 160 GB hard drive and 1 GB of ram. It has 3 USB ports, Ethernet and a VGA port for hooking up with a monitor/projector. This machine is no speed demon. But it is not meant to be that. Most people have more computer in front of them then they need any way. Really, how much power do you need to to type a letter, surf the web and get email? This Acer Netbook has enough power to get most jobs done.
My Macbook is really not that big. At least I thought so until my Acer arrived. This thing is
seriously portable. It is the size of a moderate length hardcover book. It weighs less than 3 pounds and the battery life is in the 5-6 hour range with moderate use.
My only real complaint is that it runs Windows. This is not really a concern at all just a preference issue. Since so much is done through the Web, the operating system a computer uses really should be an after thought.
This computer and others like it have generated a lot of buzz among tech people in the state. These Netbooks are beginning to look like a viable option for a 1 to 1 program for schools. At a retail price of about $380 the prospect of going to a 1 to 1 computing plan even in tough economic times is not too far out of reach.
Anyone wishing to try out the Acer for themselves are welcome to do so.