The Evangelist

Worldwide Technology News

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There can be no doubt that netbooks have become extremely popular over the course of the last two years. While many (including AMD, as was discussed in Why Intel's Atom May Revolutionize Mobile Computing) doubted that there would be much of a market for netbooks at first, this doubt would be quickly eliminated by the sheer amount of netbooks flying off of the shelves.

Netbooks certainly have their advantages over other classes of portables. They are lighter, smaller, and cheaper than your average laptop. While there are some ultraportables such as the MacBook Air that are typically slimmer and more powerful, they come at a hefty price.

Netbooks are useful for those who are on the go and don't need that much processing power. Students can undoubtedly benefit from the advantages of a leightweight and cheap computer.

That isn't to say that netbooks aren't useful around the house as well. They make for great secondary machines, so that they user has processing power when they need it and mobility when they don't.

Intel's Atom processor has become the mainstay of most netbooks. The processors have truly revolutionized mobile computing by helping to create the netbook market.

A number of operating systems are now preloaded onto netbooks. Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition has historically been the popular choice because it is lightweight and because XP is still very popular. Microsoft is now pushing their much-improved Windows 7 onto netbooks.

In addition, Linux has made some headway on netbooks. Projects such as Moblin and Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) have been created to create distributions optimized for use on netbooks. These interfaces make it easier to get to what you want and help the user cope with the smaller screen size.

Unlike the highly portable devices of yesteryear, netbooks have become an unqualified success.

The only question that remains is where netbooks are headed next. The category is rapidly changing, and innovative new classes of devices are being created, such as the smartbook.

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Google's Chrome OS has the potential to challenge Microsoft on the netbook front. The interface is sleek and very minimalist, much like netbooks themselves.

The operating system is based on Linux, and is specifically designed for netbooks. It's interface is similar to that of Google's Chrome web browser.

Instead of desktop apps, LinkGoogle Chrome OS will take advantage of Google's extensive cloud services such as Google Docs and Gmail.

Netbooks with Google Chrome OS installed will probably be cheaper than their Windows counterparts, although it is hard to tell what will happen (as Microsoft will undoubtedly want to keep their dominance). Chrome OS netbooks will include solid state drives. While these drives surely won't be able to store as much information, with Google's cloud services it is doubtful that much storage will be needed.


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