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by Faraz Khan

Netbooks are essentially downsized laptops. Ultra-portable and lightweight, a netbook is about the size of a hardcover book and weighs only 2 to 3 pounds. They aren't as underpowered as you may think. They're probably as powerful as some of those two-year-old business laptops kicking around your company right now. Netbooks are small, light, low power, and are capable of connecting to the internet (or even making voice or video calls using VoIP software). With today's netbooks you can do almost all of the tasks that you could do on your $1200 multimedia laptops.

Netbooks are priced under $400; they don't have full graphics functionality or the horsepower of a gaming laptop, but are optimized for Internet access and core computing functions. They are positioned to appeal to road warriors and tech-savvy consumers alike, considering they're connected devices optimized to quench a growing thirst for anytime access to cloud-based applications via high-speed mobile networks. The processing power of a netbook is good enough for Web browsing (including blogging), listening to music, reading books, running various applications, e-mail, and some occasional online video. I suspect the same is true for many consumers, and because of their low price, they're likely to become the computer of choice for consumers looking for nothing more than light-duty Internet machines.

Netbooks are kind of like the awkward PDA back in the mid-90s. They can do some stuff but without new software applications and OS's designed with their constraints in mind, they won't reach their full potential. They are mobile computers with screens ranging from 5 inches to 10 inches. Originally intended principally for the education market, they typically run Linux or Windows XP and need to connect to the Internet for heavy computing tasks.

Netbooks are gaining popularity day by day and since 2008 these diminutive computing machines have been preferred by many of the mobile computing enthusiasts. Netbooks are therefore more than just cheap alternatives that can hurt sales of traditional PCs -- rather, they serve a distinct purpose. In fact, netbooks represent a third form factor in the consumer PC space, in addition to laptops and desktops. These machines are great for targeted types of tasks, many of which smartphones wouldn't be good for, especially when light weight is desirable

Netbooks are bigger and more capable than a smart phone. Smaller, lighter, less capable, and less expensive (under $300) than a notebook PC. Netbooks are now more popular than iPhones, according to sales data from Gartner and Display Search. Who would have thought that these little portable devices would take off so strongly? These machines are the computer industry's answer to the desire for more mobility in devices. Asustek Computer started the netbook craze with its Eee PC line of devices, which deservedly won a product of the year award from Forbes Magazine.

Netbooks are making Microsoft's valuable Windows franchise vulnerable after two decades of dominance. That's because if Microsoft is used to selling Windows to a desktop or laptop maker for $300 or $400 a copy, it is not going to make much headway with a netbook maker who is selling the entire device for $300. And that is why all of the netbook manufacturers have turned to linux as their operating system. Linux is much more stable than Windows, much lighter and most importantly free.

Linux's existence on netbooks will continue to create a loss for them, regardless of how much "market share" they have. And the best part is, as people get used to Linux on the netbooks, they'll eventually want it on the desktop as well. Linux netbooks come in assorted choices including various models, size and a variety of feature packages. The basic requirements offered by most netbooks are pretty much the same except for storage and ram.

But before you go out and buy yourself a netbook you should know that Netbooks are not comfortable to use, have tiny screens, underpowered processors, and should not be considered a replacement for any full-power notebook/laptop computer. You should only go for a netbook if mobility if your main priority or if you already have a powerful notebook and want a netbook as your secondary computer.

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