Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Apr 2009 15:07 UTC
Editorial Last week, Apple again repeated its claim that the iPhone and iPod Touch are capable of filling the netbook niche. They also claimed that netbooks can barely be called personal computers. Both of these statements are complete and utter nonsense, but instead of writing down some high-level definition of what a netbook is, I decided to simply write down all the things I do with my netbook that the iPhone/iPod Touch cannot do to make the difference between the two that much more tangible.
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Thom is still wrong.
by NathanHill on Mon 27th Apr 2009 21:11 UTC
NathanHill
Member since:
2006-10-06

My iPod Touch is an amazing netbook. It is really portable - I can take internet and email access with me in my pocket. Great battery life. Tons of cool applications custom made for a real netbook experience. Watch movies. Organize photos. Play music. Write to do lists. Get directions. Play games. Jotting down notes. etc, etc..

On the other hand, the netbooks I see just end up being slow small laptops with no actual benefit for their size. They don't get very good battery life. They don't have any special features that take advantage of their size (like instant syncing with computers over USB or wifi) - no special software designed to accentuate the netbook experience. They are just small, limited laptops that give the illusion of value.

Seriously, is anyone writing software for designed for netbooks?

If not, it's just a copycat PC laptop... though small.

On the other hand, iPhones and iPod Touches are redefining what it means to do computing on the go. Very interesting software coming out each day for it. It's pretty wild to see a market for new software develop like it has for Apple's little netbooks.

Reply Score: -1

RE: Thom is still wrong.
by fretinator on Mon 27th Apr 2009 21:34 in reply to "Thom is still wrong."
fretinator Member since:
2005-07-06

My iPod Touch is an amazing netbook. It is really portable - I can take internet and email access with me in my pocket. Great battery life. Tons of cool applications custom made for a real netbook experience. Watch movies. Organize photos. Play music. Write to do lists. Get directions. Play games. Jotting down notes. etc, etc..



That's it, I've had it. Would everyone quit redefining words. A netbook is a FORM FACTOR. It is similar to a notebook (thus the name), but it is smaller, lighter, cheaper - easy to take to class and take notes. You can type relatively well on them, but not as easily as good desktop or laptop.

I also have a PDA phone. I can check email (IMAP for Yahoo and Gmail). I can remotely control my desktops from my phone. I can SSH with it. But it is not a netbook, because it is a different FORM FACTOR. Hello?

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Thom is still wrong.
by NathanHill on Tue 28th Apr 2009 00:16 in reply to "RE: Thom is still wrong."
NathanHill Member since:
2006-10-06

I agree if it is just a form factor, but who really cares about form factors?

Netbooks are most often being identified by what they do. Those little laptops that are called netbooks do qualify - they are intended to be ultra portable machines for doing some internet work, note taking or whatever. In that sense, an iPod Touch is a netbook.. and a pretty awesome one at that.

That's my point.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE: Thom is still wrong.
by galvanash on Mon 27th Apr 2009 21:59 in reply to "Thom is still wrong."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

My iPod Touch is an amazing netbook. It is really portable - I can take internet...


On the other hand, the netbooks I see just end up being slow small laptops with no actual benefit for their size...


Seriously, is anyone writing software for designed for netbooks? If not, it's just a copycat PC laptop... though small.


Your post pretty much sums up exactly what a netbook is, while hijacking the term to describe something completely different - and YOU are the one painstackingly pointing out exactly WHY it is different.

A netbook is an inexpensive, compact notebook (pretty much what you said it is). Thats it. It IS just a copycat of a PC laptop - that is the fricken point. Its just smaller and cheap. There is no "special" software for it because it ISNT special, the only notable thing about it that differentiates it from a run-of-the-mill laptop is the screen is a bit more cramped then normal - which most people consider as a necessary evil, not a feature.

An iphone is NOT a netbook, yet you want to use that term to describe it... Which is strange since you just spent a bunch of words explaining why it is totally different than a netbook. No one said netbooks are better or anything, iphones are great. But they arent netbooks.

My only explanation is that you are actually jealous that the new "in" thing is for once NOT an Apple product, and since you don't have one you feel compelled to call your iphone a netbook to make yourself feel better...

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Thom is still wrong.
by NathanHill on Tue 28th Apr 2009 00:19 in reply to "RE: Thom is still wrong."
NathanHill Member since:
2006-10-06

See my post above.

Netbooks are being trumped and defined by what they do, more than what their form factor is. Thus, we have many different netbook sizes. Pretty soon, 12" laptops are going to be called netbooks. I am just hoping they actually end up doing something different or providing a unique user experience over a laptop.

Because I think they can. At least, that is the netbook I am waiting on.

In the meanwhile, I have my iPod Touch as a great little netbook - it does have an irregular sort of form factor, but darn it, it does what a netbook needs to do.

No jealousy here. A satisfied customer on one hand... and a hopeful customer on the other.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Thom is still wrong.
by darknexus on Tue 28th Apr 2009 06:06 in reply to "Thom is still wrong."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

In some ways, I agree with you, though I'd be more inclined to call an iPod Touch a PDA and an iPhone exactly what it is, a PDA smartphone. In the end, it's mostly a pointless word game, what matters is whether your particular device fills your needs. If an iPod Touch does that for you, that's great, and perhaps it does indeed fill all the functions you need of a netbook-like device. Perhaps then, what you actually need is a PDA, and that's what you do have.
But, as for netbooks having bad battery life... well, perhaps you've only seen the three-cell batteries which are, I agree, pathetic. Two hours of battery life does not count as portable in my book. However, take a look at the six-cell batteries, on average they get up to 5 or 6 hours. Also take a look at the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, which has a high capacity battery rated at 9.5 hours--granted, however, I typically get about 7 or 8 hours out of it not 9.5. And no, there's no special software written for these subnotebooks that are currently being called netbooks, that's precisely the point. They run the same desktop software you would use anywhere else, and can actually handle most of it reasonably well.
In the end, pick the device that works for you and nevermind what other people call it. For me, it's an Asus 1000HE. For you, it's an iPod Touch. For someone else, it might be a palmtop computer. In the end, these word games are unimportant.

Reply Parent Score: 3