The Netbook: the shape of things to come?

You’ve really got to hand it to the computer and telecoms industries. Where everyone else is hunkering down trying to penny pinch to combat the effects of the credit crunch, never a day goes by without the launch of the latest product that will reshape its particular market.

And on a good week you get something that will redefine a whole genre. Honest; it will ….
The latest in genre redefining products is the Netbook, the perfect amalgam, so they say (who they?) of a smartphone and a laptop.

Sorry for the slightly less than respectful tone but sometimes ‘paradigm shifters’ can be ten a penny.  That said, if adopted, he Netbook will certainly bring about a lot  of change to organisations.




A true netbook will combine all of the IT functionality of traditional laptops coupled with the telecoms capabilities of smartphones.

Most of the big, and to be fair smaller, name s in the IT market are or have launched a netbook. The latest in the genre is the Netbook X110 from LG Electronics who is claiming that its new device is at the cutting edge of mobile connectivity and will ‘challenge the existing boundaries of flexibility’.

Don’t they all…

…and in attempt to hit the same work style marketing space as  the BlackBerry and iPhone LG is making its new ‘thing’ available in pink and silver and small enough to fit into a handbag or rucksack.

Already the nascent market for netbooks, which are themselves characterised as  ultra-mobile devices (UMDs)–such as ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), netbooks, and mobile Internet devices (MIDs)–is already complex, and will become more complicated as it grows according to a recent survey from ABI Research who expects the total revenues earned by vendors in the UMD market to increase from $3.5 billion in 2008 to nearly $27 billion in 2013..

All such products seem to offer some form of Ethernet connection to link up to mobile broadband networks but the big rub is whether they will also eventually have embedded 3G/telecoms functionality. This has a number of great advantages on a functionality level as it boosts considerable the usefulness of the device. In fact they could be a total smartphone replacement.

But there’s a bigger question here. How will they be sold? Like a phone or like a laptop? If the former will buying cycles be no more than 18 months; if the latter will it be the usual 3-year cycle?

And as ever, will the industry come up with something else to consider before anyone can make up their mind which they are and how to sell them?