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A Look at the New Mobile Computer

Earlier today, I met with someone who wanted to show me the Web site they were developed. He pulled out an Acer netbook, which could easily described as “cute”.

It’s small, lets you do basic computing (Word processing, Web browsing, e-mail) and sells for about $350 – although I suspect you’ll probably see on sale for $249 to $299 during the holidays. As well, there are the $100 computers from the Give One, Get One program..

Is this the future of mobile computing? Will be the future see us using cheap, no-frills Netbooks when we don’t want to lug around a laptop? Personally, I can easily see having a work/home laptop AND a mobile/travel/vacation/conference laptop.

As much as the NetBook concept is appealing, it could also be doomed by the emergence of smartphones such as the iPhone and Blackberry Bold. A friend, who just abandoned his Blackberry Pearl for an iPhone (mostly due to the application ecosystem) gushed the iPhone could be his new mobile computing device.

When you think about it, the iPhone lets you check e-mail, surf the Web, blog and take notes. Granted, the keyboard is not as elegant or easy as a laptop but surely there’s are mini-keyboards to get over this hurdle.

So, what would you use as a mobile computer:


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  • http://www.veritascanada.com PRJack

    hmmm… what’s next? HP coming out with a “PalmTop PC” complete with little chicklet keys?

    er… holy Deja Vu!! ;-)

    If the ‘really small/thin but still fully functional’ didn’t really catch on before Smart Phones really took off, it’s hard to see it doing so now.

    That said I see two ‘uses’ for this kind of platform…
    1. For mobile work forces who require a screen larger than a smart phone’s … for whatever reason.
    2. As a ‘ruggedized’ field pc. If it’s starting out small and light it will be ‘normal’ in size/weight if ruggedized.

  • http://www.mattroberts.com mattr oberts

    I have an Aspire One (the 3cell windows version). Its replacing an old G4 Powerbook.

    I use it as my daily PC – the major caveat (the screen and keyboard size) are easily rectified at my desktop and its perfect for demo’s on the go. Its the best -traveler PC iIve ever had. I’d recommend it (but would recommend the 6 cell if pressed.)

  • http://www.felipecoimbra.com Felipe

    That’s exactly what that computer is for me: a travel/conference laptop. And I love it: cheap, light and a bit more useful than a mobile phone when you’re traveling.

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  • http://unitstep.net Peter

    I may be a bit biased since I also own an Acer Aspire One (AAO), but I’m strongly in favour of netbooks, as long as they are designed correctly. Most netbooks have keyboards that are horribly designed and too cramped. There are only a few netbooks that have proper keyboards and the AAO is one of them. (HP’s newest Mini 1000, which coincidently, I just saw today at Futureshop, also looks great!)

    I have always been an advocate of having two systems, a main PC and a side, portable one for travel. For me, I’ve always liked using a desktop due to the extra screen space and proper keyboard/mouse and for gaming, and thus the AAO made for a great and practical second computer for when I’m traveling/flying. Having a “main” laptop and netbook for travel is really just an extension of this.

    As a side note, I’ve written a review of the AAO that you may be interested in checking out.

  • http://halosecretarialservices.com/blog Laurie/HaloSecretarial

    Personally I am a fan of the netbooks (but I don’t own one yet – hoping for a good price after the holidays!)

    My laptop is a standard 15″ and around 6 pounds – too awkward to easily carry around all the time. I love the mobility at home and prefer it to a desktop, but for travel it is NOT the solution. Nor is my smartphone, the screen is just too small for anything other than some basic net surfing. I love it for checking my email and Twitter, but can’t actually get work done on it!
    So a netbook seems the perfect compromise – small, lightweight and easily portable, but a reasonable sized screen and true keyboard. I want an AcerOne or the MSI wind personally! And just to be clear, it must be cheap for a back-up/travel option, so things like macbook air and other high end lightweight computers aren’t in the running.

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