Sunday February 19, 2017

Can Netbooks Be Cool Again?

I found this one confusing. Aren’t 2-in-1 devices like the Surface (which are, in fact, very cool) and Chromebooks (which have made waves in the education sector) basically the spiritual successors of netbooks, meaning that they never really went away? I guess this may just be a clever advertorial for the GPD Pocket, a 7-inch computer that can fit in a jacket pocket, but I guess it is interesting to think about how far we’ve come with portables since 2007 (although a decade is about a millennium in tech years).

آ…netbooksآ…came with major compromises. One was the ubiquitous Intel Atom low-power processor, which sometimes struggled with handling basic computer multitasking. Windows felt slow and heavy compared to a good netbook-specific flavor of Linux, but if you needed to run a Windows-specific program, you’d be out of luck. (Yes, you could set up a dual-boot system. That requires more effort than most people want to put into a $400 laptop.) And even as netbooks grew in size, their keyboards were often cramped آ— my small fingers started to feel like a superpower, and I still had trouble with the original Eee PC. After a while, the netbook became one of those things I’d suggest with the cautious qualification that it wasn’t for everybody, like my favorite cheap whiskey or an early Man Man album.