Before hitting Europe for my holiday break, I pondered getting a Linux-based netbook for my trip. After all, it was lighter and easier to carry around and move through airport security, and had everything I needed to stay connected to my world back home. Plus, at $300 on sale at Target of all places, it seemed a smart buy.
But I am seeing the potential for larger-sized netbooks to take the place of business-use laptops, but for different reasons than hyper-mobility.
For one, they are cheap. And with employee turnover, and the ever-increasing pace of development, spending upwards of $1,000 for an employee machine doesn’t add up in this economy. And if they are damaged, the replacement is a snap.
Second, they have less memory. Some may think this a bad thing. But with web-based applications, less memory is needed on board. Plus, if employees can not stuff hours of movies and MP3s on their work PCs – they may actually be a slight more productive (and when an employee leaves, cleaning out memory, etc. becomes easier).
Finally, many of these machines are Linux-based. This is less about productivity than it is about costs and simply wanting to see open source prevail. Hey, if you can bring in a company-wide desktop OS for free – why not, right? It is all about cutting costs at every turn these days.
The biggest drawback with netbooks is that they are pretty small, and there are not (as far as I’ve seen) a lot of upgrades in terms of docking stations or massive memory adds for those who need it. (But there are a ton of cheap expandable 500GB hard drives out there these days).
But overall, I think there is a reason these little guys are catching on…