The Economist is running an article on netbooks, with specific advice on sticking to Linux as the operating system — rather than buying a beefy netbook that can run Windows. I’ve been trying to avoid looking at these for a long time, thinking that when I get one, it will probably be an Apple. But alas, Apple doesn’t have a netbook or tablet computer yet, and it’s difficult to predict when that will become available.
The sub-$500 price tags make current netbooks relatively cheap in my mind, and potentially disposable should the technology improve significantly in the coming months. Much harder to call a $1500 computer “disposable”.
Most of what I would want to do with a netbook is pretty much what you should expect to do on a netbook: surf the web, send email, open documents and spreadsheets, and maybe some very lightweight development — which is, for me, typically Linux-based work. Email and web can already be done well in a browser. More of my own docs and spreadsheets are in a browser now, too, by using Google Docs.
And, hell, from what I can tell, Google’s “Chrome” web browser (along with its suite of web products) is the play for making the browser more important than the operating system.
It might be time to start taking a closer look at these.