Netbooks backlash begins

It was probably inevitable but just as the popularity of netbooks grows, so does the opposition towards them especially by that in the enterprise IT market.


One thing is absolutely clear: netbooks are creating a buzz in IT. And will continue to do so .


For the last couple of months, all of the major mobile operators having been offering netbooks as an incentive to sign up for what looks like very attractive mobile broadband propositions.


Now these offers have been made in the main by the consumer arms of the operators but there’s absolutely no way these devices are NOT appropriate for business use.


In fact has been hosting a site since November showing how netbooks and other mobile computing devices can make positive contributions to business productivity.


And yet recent reports in the mainstream press have cast doubt on the viability of the devices.


Speaking to the London Evening Standard at the end of January 2009, IDC analyst Bob O’Donnell said, “I think [netbook] acceptance in the enterprise is very small…We do believe about 7% of netbooks are going into small business (SMBs) . I don’t know of any companies standardising on them.” In the Standard’s article, analyst Gartner was of a similar opinion.

For SMBs there is indeed  a great attraction to kill two birds, comms and IT, with one stone by signing up to an operator’s mobile broadband deal. And, let’s face it, all of the enterprise IT suppliers such as Toshiba, HP, Dell etc have very good netbooks on offer And as the recession drags on, how long will it take enterprises to take the netbook plunge? There’s a lot of good work to be done on the road with a device with a 10-inch screen.  

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There’s no doubt that netbooks will soon become a regular feature in the business world – portable, compact and ideal for accessing web-based applications – but, given the pressure the recession is putting on organisations, perhaps running applications on workers’ existing smartphones and mobile devices would better serve the purpose as the situation stands.

Many of today’s field workers need the same access to company information as their office-based colleagues, so why not equip them with direct access to back-end systems via their existing mobile devices? By automating workers day-to-day processes using mobile applications companies have the potential to maximise productivity and minimise cost through existing technology, without the fear of an additional piece of equipment malfunctioning.

Rikke Helms, Dexterra