Over the past little while wireless carriers have started subsidizing
netbooks in conjunction with a data plan on their network. AT&T
are offering service on 3G networks, which can be found here. And now even Rogers in
Canada is offering HP netbooks, which can be found here. Is there a
competition between the smart phone industry and the netbook?
I have to say that I surf the web on my iPod Touch (when I'm at home
where I have Wi-Fi set up). I've got two laptops at home (one
for work and one for personal) and a desk top PC. When I'm in
the mood for some serious searching I use the desktop, and when I'm
looking for something quick I use the iPod. I rarely use the
laptops for sitting around and surfing unless I'm doing it for work.
And I rarely use my BlackBerry Curve 8900 to surf, but that
is more due to the data plans in Canada which are not unlimited as they
are in other areas of the world.
One of the main reasons I use the iPod for quick searches is because it
starts up so quickly. Since the battery lasts for a fair
amount of time I rarely, if ever, turn it off. I just let it
sleep so that when I want to use it, it comes on almost instantly.
And the keyboard and screen size are good enough for quick
searching. I typically power down my PC when I don't expect
to use it for a little while as the mouse is very sensitive and it will
come out of hibernate mode when we walk on the floor. So to
conserve power I turn it off. Although it is a new computer
it still takes a few minutes to turn on before I can start surfing.
Given the size of netbooks there might be some competition between
these and smart phones. They offer some nice advantages,
including faster processors, larger screen, more memory, easier input
with the keyboard, and the ability to install any program you want
which gives the user a lot of flexibility. But they are not
as compact as a smart phone. I can't imagine anyone walking
around with a netbook clipped to their belt or in a purse... it would
be like the old days where people carried around the Apple Newton,
although they would be carrying something considerably more powerful.
I think the big factors for me would be how quickly the netbook was to
boot up, the battery life and the size. I read somewhere over
the weekend (can't recall where right now but I think it was on the
Rogers site) that smart phone users go on the Internet for a few
minutes, while netbook users are there for a half hour to an hour and
PC users are there for three hours. If it takes me a fair
amount of time to get a netbook running, it only has power for a short
amount of time and I have to have a backpack just to carry it
around (even if it is light you still need to be able carry it somehow
without always having it in your hand) then it may not make sense.