Netbooks and The Cloud

Posted by Bob Landstrom

The attention and interest in netbooks has been on the sharp increase over the past six months. A recent post in IT Business Edge makes the claim that netbook sales can be credited with the resiliency the PC market has had through the recent recession.

When one looks for the reasons why netbooks are appealing, it’s easy to notice their conveniently small size (many will fit into a large jacket pocket or a purse), the full QWERTY keyboard (as opposed to the thumb typing PDA form factors), and ease of connectivity through now nearly ubiquitous free WIFI. They’re a blogger’s dream, since they can be easily carried (when compared to a conventional laptop PC) and area always connected… aligning well with the kind of spontaneous editorializing in which bloggers delight.¬† Let’s not forget too that they are affordably priced (under $400 at this writing).

Detractors have their voice too, pointing out that as a computing device netbooks are simply less capable, citing the inability to carry large stores of data and workhorse applications as well as their having much smaller screens.¬† While both the advocates and detractors are correct in their assessments of these gadgets, there is more to this than just another product form factor serving a user preference niche.¬† I suggest that what we’re looking at is the next evolutionary step in a new usage model for the holistic computing platform, and one closely linked with the migration of enterprise storage and applications into the cloud (I’m referring here to cloud computing, including any xAAS paradigm you prefer to imagine when thinking about cloud computing).