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Monday, October 17, 2011

Netbooks, Notebooks: What's the difference?

Inside Houston real estate is a realty company serving central Houston. His site covers Houston real estate and has profiles on Houston neighborhoods like the Woodlands

Net-books are little computers that are receiving big attention these days. Net-books are actually mini-notebook computers with limited applications. They are designed to be extremely portable, allowing internet use while out and about (hence the "net" in net-book). A net-book has a screen size of twelve inches or smaller and is very light-weight, generally less than three pounds. These energy-efficient mini-computers are perfect for email, chat, Web surfing or even movie watching. Most designs out now run Windows XP or Linux operating systems and are not intended for extensive data storage or complicated programs like Photoshop or 3D games. However, at less than $400 they may offer the perfect solution for consumers who want the newest gadget at a reasonable price.

It is the price that is posing a problem for manufacturers. It was likely that the net-book was created to complement the notebook computer; a consumer would want both to serve different purposes. But as the economy has gotten tougher, people are buying the cheaper net-books at a faster rate. "... the low price tag that makes them such a hit these days means less revenue and profit for PC makers than what their full-size counterparts produce," said tech columnist Dan Zehr. Last fall, of the top-selling laptops on Amazon over half of them were net-books. An analysis on Barron.com noted net-books "could dent Mac-book sales." This was particularly true during the back-to-school and holiday shopping periods. Of course, sales of iPhone and Blackberries are not being impacted in the same way as notebook computer sales, as they hold a different niche in the market.

Kindle connectat al NetbookImage by Rafel Miro via Flickr

So are net-books worth the hype? That depends. If a consumer is looking for a powerful machine to be able to perform typing-heavy applications on-the-go, he would be better served sticking with a laptop computer. John New, senior manager for global product marketing at Dell Inc., said the net-books work nicely for portable entertainment, but they are not intended for creating content or long periods of use. That may be the net-books biggest problem. While they offer a longer, more in depth Web experience than a smart phone, it is considerably shorter than a laptop computer with a larger battery capacity. The net-book allows use between 30 and 45 minutes, which is significantly less than most plane rides. 

If the little computer with the little price tag does prove too irresistible to pass up, there are a few things to consider when purchasing a net-book. First, the price is budget friendly, but the consumer should make sure the net-book is user friendly for his individual computer needs. It's not a great price if it sits unused. There are choices on operating systems, so the consumer should make sure they understand how to use what they are getting. Finally, try several out to make sure screen and keyboard size make for comfortable use. Also, as PC manufacturers and retailers are adjusting for the net-books popularity they are offering deals with notebooks and net-books packaged together. They are not exactly on par with two for one deal, but it may be the best deal in the long run.

About the Author
Inside Houston real estate is a realty company serving central Houston. His site covers Houston real estate and has profiles on Houston neighborhoods like the Woodlands

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