TechCrunch’s own takedown of netbooks is actually a much-needed counter to the insane hype surrounding these mobile mediocrities, but it misses the point and lards the piece with baffling errors.
“A typical Netbook has a 7 inch screen.”
Au contraire! Most netbooks have 9″ or 10″ displays. The 7″ netbooks of yore are no longer easy to find. The only hot seven-incher in the house is Raon’s Everun Note, but it’s really a UMPC, with specs that far exceed those of netbooks.
“Some make do with as little as 256 MB.”
Few netbooks come with less than 1GB of memory, with 512MB configurations reduced to $250 Black Friday duty. To find 256MB, we again have to look back to old junk you can’t even buy anymore: even the ur-netbook, the Asus EeePC 2G, had half a gig.
“Netbooks use Intel Celeron, Intel Atom, or Via Nano CPU”
A netbook with Via’s Nano CPU? Now you’re jutht being thilly.
“The iPhone or iPod Touch, with a tiny 3.5 inch screen, has a vastly better browsing experience.”
This refers to a real netbook problem–600-line displays–but TechCrunch overplays it. As great as the iPhone’s cut of Safari is, we have to get real about its usefulness for work. A 480-pixel display can’t offer the plain utility of the 1024 horizontal pixels found on the average netbook.
“Any normal adult can’t type fast on it … it isn’t much better than a Blackberry-type mobile keyboard”
Oh, please. As far as this can be taken seriously at all, it should suffice to say that I type just fine on netbooks–and I have blunt hobbit-fingers that can barely navigate a smartphone. “Normal adult” indeed!
“Even the lower end XP and Linux, with normal computing is a heavy chore for these machines.”
I’m a performance whore, with a 4GB MacBook Pro and a gaming PC with a $500 video card. Even so, only a couple of netbooks slowed me down for the kind of basic tasks they’re good for. Moreover, the real culprit for their problems was cheap flash storage with poor write speeds: the answer is to buy one with a hard drive, or to avoid the cheaper EeePCs.
After saying the netbook’s keyboard is too small, TechCrunch again pitches its keyboard-free touchscreen tablet concept again: “That’s a device people will want.” It’s a fantastic proposal, but the notion that it’s an “answer” to the “problem” of netbooks–which are selling in the millions–isn’t fully baked.
An abiding belief that little tablets are the future is something that Intel and Microsoft have been throwing cash at for years and years: HPCs, UMPCs and MIDs have been serving imaginary consumers for at least a decade. There is a fundamental problem with these Star Trek props: none of them ever hits a sweet spot, and that probably means that there isn’t one. I can juuuuust imagine Apple succeeding with a bigger iPhone-like tablet, but it could do so only because of the foundations already built, not because it’s a fundamentally appetizing idea.
Here are three things that will really improve netbooks, right now: 1. Fix the chipset power consumption problems so we really do get a full day on a 6-cell charge, 2. Give us more than 600 horizontal lines, and 3: Cellular modems as standard in the U.S.
Three Reasons Why Netbooks Just Aren’t Good Enough [TechCrunch]