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Can Crowdfunding Bring Back The Netbook? ( 243

"The mini-laptop's market niche got swamped by the iPad and the phablet," writes Salon, since the stripped-down hardware of tablets made them cheaper to produce. But now netbooks could be making a grassroots-fueled comeback, "thanks to the lower costs in electronics manufacturing and the fact that individual investors can come together to crowdfund projects." An anonymous reader quotes Salon: Michael Mrozek, the Germany-based creator of creator of the DragonBox Pyra, says "I never understood why they were gone in the first place. I have no idea why you would use a tablet. I tried one, and it's awkward to use it for anything else than browsing the Web"... He has already managed to raise several hundred thousand dollars through a private pre-order system set up on his geek's paradise online store. Once those initial orders have been filled, Mrozek said he will probably start up a mainstream crowdfunding campaign for his Linux handheld... "The niche was always there, but thanks to the Internet and crowdfunding, it's easy to reach everyone who's interested in such a device so even a niche product still gets you enough users to sell it. That wasn't possible 10 years ago."
Meanwhile, in just under two weeks Planet Computer raised $446,000 on Indiegogo, more than double the original $200,000 goal for their netbook-like Gemini computer (with a keyboard designed by the creator of the original Psion netbook). Planet's CEO Janko Mrsic-Flogel says "It's a bit like Volkswagen bringing back the Beetle," and predicts that the worldwide demand for netbooks could reach 10 million a year.
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Can Crowdfunding Bring Back The Netbook?

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  • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
    small? yes, keyboard comfy enough? some, specs?, piece of shit machines that were locked to having max 2 gb ram, who the fuck thought that was ever a good idea
    • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
      and after reading the specs, 2gb and 4gb... i rather break up a modern smart phone and put it in a old laptop casing than having that crap
    • by Unknown User ( 4795349 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:35PM (#54025079)

      I still miss my first generation EEE PC which was stolen two years ago. It had a special battery that lasted forever and was perfect for writing novels outside. Now I'm using an Asus Transformer, I had to put special anti-reflective plastic over the display to be able to read anything, it still sucks in the sun and it runs Windows 8. :(

      Anyway, the reply to your post: Netbooks are awesome, perfect for writing books outside, for example.

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        Sounds like you want 'classic start menu' make windows look like a former version.

      • Anyway, the reply to your post: Netbooks are awesome, perfect for writing books outside, for example.

        I agree with this conclusion!

        I had a 2nd gen EEEPC years ago that was great for surfing the web and writing for hours on end. Because it was so cheap it was also essentially a "throwaway" that I used to cut my teeth on (very) basic hardware hacking, like adding a touchscreen. I gave it away to a friend in 2009 when the netbook market was booming. I never did get another one but I have very fond memories.

    • by tbuskey ( 135499 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @07:04PM (#54025211) Journal

      specs?, piece of shit machines that were locked to having max 2 gb ram, who the fuck thought that was ever a good idea

      Microsoft thought it was a good idea to limit netbooks.

      The 1st netbooks ran Linux. People found out that they didn't need Windows. Just a browser mainly. Manufacturers found they could reduce a large % of the cost by not putting Windows on it.

      MS had discontinued XP and netbooks couldn't run 7. So they brought XP back for netbooks. They created a spec it that limited the screen resolution, ram and cpu.

      And that ultimately killed netbooks. It saved MS's Windows revenue for a number of years.

      When the iPad and Android tablets came out, that trick wouldn't work anymore. Millions learned that they could do "internet" just fine without Windows. They could Google, Facebook, do google docs, listen to music, watch videos, take photos to put up on the web, chat, and surf the web.

      Google Chromebooks are probably the closest we have to a Netbook now. For those of us that want to, Linux wll run on most of them too.

      • by Gadget_Guy ( 627405 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @04:44AM (#54027363)

        The return rate for Linux-based netbooks was significantly higher that Windows ones. I don't think that it can be said that people found that they didn't need Windows. Also, it was Vista that didn't work well on netbooks. They fixed this with the Windows 7 Starter Edition, which finallly replaced XP on netbooks.

        Netbooks still exist in the form of... netbooks. The Lenovo Ideapad 100S or the HP Stream 11 spring to mind as examples of this format. The specs tend to be 11" screen, 2GB RAM & 32GB SSD & full Windows 10. I've had a few different varieties of this sort of thing, and they do a reasonable job even though I'm not a big fan of Windows 10.

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 12, 2017 @08:01PM (#54025559) Journal

      Uhhh my AMD netbook is rocking 8Gb of RAM and came with 4Gb and Win 7 X64, maybe you shouldn't have been buying those crap Intel Atom netbooks? At the time it was only $60 more to get the AMD one and when I'm not using it on house calls I can use it as an HTPC with full 1080P over HDMI.

      The reason you saw so many of the crap Atoms is Intel was product dumping, its the same reason you see so many of those Intel Atom convertibles so cheap now. But Atom was shit then, its still shit now, if you are gonna get a netbook? Don't make it an Atom if you don't want it to be crippled and blow ass, heck the AMD netbook chips even support hardware VM and ECC memory if you needed it so no segmenting the market like Intel always does.

      • yep my amd c-60 smashed a atom but buy the time amd made good netbook chips the netbook was being replaced by tablets.and i dont see it going back.
  • A better question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:57PM (#54024885)
    Do we really want (or need) the Netbook back? As I recall, they were a product that did little more than make people wish they had saved the money to buy something that was actually capable of meeting their basic needs. These days everyone has a cellphone which is already infinitely better than the netbook of yesterday.
    • by Guspaz ( 556486 )

      It must not be about costs, because you can buy a half decent notebook with a 1080p IPS display for a hundred dollars less than this "netbook" (see Anandtech's recent review of the Chuwi Lapbook 14.1, which has its flaws, but is an impressive value). My assumption then is that the attraction is purely the form factor. I would have thought that some sort of low-end android tablet or phone with a keyboard case of some kind would make this proposed product redundant.

      • I would have thought that some sort of low-end android tablet or phone with a keyboard case of some kind would make this proposed product redundant.

        Not unless it's an Android/x86 tablet or phone. One of the advantages of a GNU/Linux netbook used to be that one could run Wine for the occasional Windows app that doesn't demand performance more than what you'd get out of, say, a Pentium 4. (An Atom from the netbook era had instructions per clock roughly comparable to a P4.)

    • The article is based on a lie. It states that tablets killed the netbook. Cheap laptops (barely more than the price of netbooks, and eventually cheaper and better spec'ed than netbooks) killed it.
      • I have a couple of bones to pick.

        The DragonBox Pyra has been available to preorder since 2013 (from what I can tell, it's a bit hard because the website is awful). So Michael Mrozek is the creator of not much so far.

        He is however correct about tablets being awkward for anything other than browsing the web, which is why that's exactly what they are used for.

        Any tiny Linux handheld is a niche device, which is why no mainstream manufacturer will make them.

      • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

        I wanted a netbook but ended up with a laptop because no-ones selling good spec netbooks which is odd considering how easy they should be to make now with great screens readily available because of tablets and intel chips with the latest intel hd video is surprisingly good, stick 1 stick of 8gb memory and some ssd on there, could be cheap and awesome but they're just not doing it.

      • by PhrostyMcByte ( 589271 ) <> on Sunday March 12, 2017 @07:18PM (#54025293) Homepage

        Cheap laptops (barely more than the price of netbooks, and eventually cheaper and better spec'ed than netbooks) killed it.

        Both you and TFA are wrong. Manufacturers killed the netbook because once enough of them joined the fray and started competing, they eroded their margins so much that they forced the market into "chromebooks" or otherwise gimped netbooks that were cheaper to license.

        • And yet the facts show that laptops that were under the price of netbooks but with better specs killed the netbook market. The price competition in laptops is even more fierce, and yet they're still being produced - licensing costs were not a consideration.

          I remember one of my co-workers bringing his new netbook to work. After a month it stayed at home while my laptop continued to make the journey every day. Then again, my laptop had more utility - 17" display, dual hard drives, decent memory and cpu, linu

    • by jiriw ( 444695 )

      That totally depends on if they are done right. Some netbooks made were surprisingly capable. Cheap, small, sturdy and useful for the narrow set of tasks they were made for in the first place. Ideal as small computer when traveling, second PC to surf the internet on or write some documents when another family member has occupied the main desktop/laptop. And even as a generic college student PC for office applications many of them were more than capable. However there were also POSs, only capable of deliveri

    • But these days, cheap notebooks are around the price point that Netbooks were at. You can get a cheapass notebook for around $300ish. It won't be very good, but it'll work and be better than what a Netbook was and that was around what they cost.

      All a "netbook" ever really meant was "very small, very cheap laptop." I guess if the "very small" part appealed to you then the current crop might not do it, but you can get cheap laptops.

      My parents both have cheap Dells. Not the absolute bottom of the barrel, but u

    • Do we really want (or need) the Netbook back?


      These days everyone has a cellphone which is already infinitely better than the netbook of yesterday.,

      Utter rubbish. I have a Nexus 6, but I'm sitting here writing it on my eee 900. The nexus 6 is spec for spec a much more powerful machine. It's great for reading stuff, but as a plaftorm for creating anything (except capturing photos and videos), even badly written, flamey slashdot posts, it's substantially worse.

      It also runs a much worse operating system, a

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:00PM (#54024903)

    Given that, at the time they both launched, the described use cases for tablets and netbooks didn't really overlap much... it's hard to see how one could blame tablets for the failure of netbooks. It's really only been the past two or three years that there's been any traction with regards to "iPads as word processors" - and, even now, I don't see this done very often.

    In our university department, I know a number of people who bought netbooks because they were small, light, and inexpensive. What they then found out was they were also severely underpowered and had too little built-in storage and memory. One of our professors brought one to us and said "I want to run Cadence and Matlab on this" - yeah, good luck with that.

    It seemed like none of the people who bought them actually kept using them for more than a month or two.

    There are lots of small, light, and useable laptops on the market now. If there ever was a "netbook niche", I'm not sure it still exists.

    • I still use my Asus EEE PC. Most of the time it is a glorified mp3 player for my workshop that I don't have to worry about charging. It also runs the controlling software for my cnc. When my PC psu died I used it as my primary PC until I got the new machine together. It actually ran my CAD software (Vectric VCarve Pro) just fine, other than a long initial loading time. It has outlasted every other piece of hardware I had at the time I bought it. Ironic because I bought it since it was cheap enough I d
    • tablets simply took there place my 80 year old grandma uses a tablet. android is simple to use and gets the job done for what they want it to do watch moves use the internet and play some light game like card games.
  • It is hard to sell a netbook these days. After all, many people just want to browse the e-mail. They want something that is easy to pick up and use, without maintenance. The common people also want to have a device that can do everything a mobile phone can do in a convenient manner (example: take a photo, modify it with snapchat, publish into Facebook).

    In my opinion, netbooks went into oblivion when Windows became the OS of choice by the manufacturers. There are other factors to take into as well, like very

  • As I would imagine a lot of people are not fans either, they are slow, even the current models, the screens are small, which would be ok if their resolution didnt suck, keyboards are hard to type on, and they are heavier than their tablet counterparts

    sent from a 12 inch 1.2ghz netbook cause I just happen to be hacking one up to use in a mini mame cab

  • A second life? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:04PM (#54024927)

    I would like to see netbooks come back. The original concept was a smash hit- small size, excellent battery life, SSD, and running Linux, all at a small price. Lots of reasons led to their demise- Microsoft hostility, powerful phones, tablets, and client-side browser load increase were probably the three biggest.

    I think there might still be a market for something small, inexpensive, and different. Maybe not a big market, but something with unlocked dual-boot Android and Linux with physical keyboard, larger than the largest phones but smaller than the smallest laptops (notebooks). Where having a keyboard and good, SWAPPABLE battery trumps being stupidly thin.

    Oh, the Gemini PDA isn't it... too expensive, too small. Cool, no doubt, but it is more of a phone factor.

    • To me, it only makes sense if the screens get better than most tablets at the same price range. I do not think it is a good experience to go with a non 1080p screen these days. However, with so little profits to be made, I assume it is going to be another race to the bottom, again.
      • >"I do not think it is a good experience to go with a non 1080p screen"

        That depends on the screen size and the audience. I will take a guess that at least 70% of people will notice no difference in anything higher than 1920x1080 on a 10" screen. Probably 90% of people on a 5" screen. If it means keeping the cost low and performance high, it is worth it to keep the resolution reasonable.

    • by jon3k ( 691256 )
      They're called Chromebooks now. There are dozens of options from $199 to $500. Pick the one you like the best and install Crouton [] on it. Here's my personal favorite [] - quad core N3160 Intel CPU, 4GB RAM, 32GB storage, 1080p 14" IPS (yes, IPS) display, 12+ hour battery life, a trackpad that's better than it has any right to be and ALL ALUMINUM construction for comfortably under $300.

      Every battery is removable if you own a screwdriver, this is a non-issue. Especially given the battery lives on laptops.
      • >"They're called Chromebooks now.

        In a way, that is true. Although most are locked-down and difficult to run plain Linux on reliably/easily (crouton is neat, but still mostly a hack). I think that is probably the key difference.

        >"Every battery is removable if you own a screwdriver, this is a non-issue. "

        Well, that is not true... look at phones for an example. Some have the battery nearly impossible even for a regular tech to replace without great risk of severe damage.

        >" Especially given the batt

        • That is why I've hung onto my Asus EEE PC for dear life. I can run any OS from BSD to Ubuntu (came with a dual boot Win 7 X64 and Splashtop Linux which still works great), the battery after 6 years still gets nearly 4 hours and if I decide to replace it? $20 and two tabs and I can swap it in 30 seconds. Oh and an AMD APU which means I can do 1080P over HDMI so when I'm not using it for work its an ULV HTPC.

          If we could get a new model with the same features? I'd be the first in line. Hell AMD even has a pe

    • I agree with you.

      It needs to run Linux.

      Having a real (although smaller) keyboard and long battery life is an advantage for those who do more than browse the web.

      It's also nice to be able to plug one in to a TV at a motel when traveling and watch movies on a full-sized screen. Although I'm limited to VGA with it, it still works quite well unless I have a HD file (the video processor chokes on them).

  • No tilde? No backtick? This would just annoy me on Linux.
  • Oh wait, it's basically a small, low powered, awful screen version of a 2-in-1 tablet with a keyboard. The consumer space between cheap, entry level 13" laptop and tablet/2-in-1 with detachable keyboard / keyboard case is pretty small. I had a spare netbook until a few years ago (gave it to a buddy for a case of craft beer I couldn't get at home). Literally the only thing from keeping me to use my original iPad as a netbook is that many of the apps I'd use require a new iOS version. Resolution isn't admitte
  • I never understood why they were gone in the first place. I have no idea why you would use a tablet. I tried one, and it's awkward to use it for anything else than browsing the Web

    Unlike netbooks, which were awkward to use for anything including browsing the web. It was codeword for a really cheap, really crappy laptop with a tiny and poor screen, an anemic Atom processor, too little RAM and the slowest HDD you could find. No laptop user would choose it unless they very literally can't afford anything better, I had one because I normally use a desktop and just needed a cheap piece of shit I wouldn't spend much on and could afford to lose/damage. My use case is now fully replaced by a

    • No laptop user would choose it unless they very literally can't afford anything better

      The only "serious" (i.e. non-Atom) 10 inch laptops that I'm aware of are Panasonic's expensive "Let's Note" laptops sold only in the Japanese market []. Prices start at $1,200, and I wouldn't be able to buy one with a warranty anyway because I live in the United States, not Japan.

      Besides, aren't Chromebooks the current day netbooks?

      Not as long as destruction of your Crouton installation is as easy as following the prompts to press Space Enter.

    • Unlike netbooks, which were awkward to use for anything including browsing the web. It was codeword for a really cheap, really crappy laptop with a tiny and poor screen, an anemic Atom processor, too little RAM and the slowest HDD you could find

      That's not how they started out, because the atom processor didn't exist. The first generation netbooks (eee 701 and eee 900) had celery processors, and SSDs. The 701 had a tiny screen that never appealed to me. The 900 has a screen the full size of the machine with

  • Tablets and ebook readers already do everything the so called "netbook" does. What exactly are you going to get rid of to reduce the cost further?

    About the only way I can think of to reduce the price that can't be applied to a tablet/ebook reader is to:

    1) Remove the touch screen and add back in a mouse
    2) Increase the thickness of the hardware, to allow for cheaper parts.

    I can't see that working. The touch screen is worth the extra cost, and no one wants a thicker, heavier tablet, unless it is less th

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      Tablets and ebook readers already do everything the so called "netbook" does.

      Including running a text editor, GCC, Python, and Wine? Because that's what I run in Xubuntu on my Dell Inspiron mini 1012.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I loved the EEE PC, for me, it was a way to run any distro I wanted on a portable device that I could bring anywhere. I would often bring it with me whenever I needed to showcase my work.
    However, I feel as if what replaced it for most people (that did not just get them to save a buck), was single-board systems like RPI. I would always plug in an external monitor + keyboard on these things anyway, because their keyboards and screens were just waaaaaaay to small to do anything useful.
    The 1GB RAM or the 2GB RA

  • yep. free. rescued a Tablet from the trash last week (well, they were going to throw it in the trash). my Netbook was my nephew's.
  • My Netbook (Score:5, Interesting)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:33PM (#54025071) Homepage

    During a time when I "worked from home", I would travel frequently. On one such trip, my laptop I used for work died. I needed one ASAP, so ordering online wasn't an option. I walked into BestBuy (not really any other option with where I was at the time). I just needed something to get me by until I returned home to my normal workstation, so I pick up a cheap Acer Aspire One 10" netbook for $300. This was I think five or six years ago now. This netbook is awesome, it has 2 DIMM slots in it, so I was able to move over the 8GiB of RAM from the dead laptop over to the netbook. All these years later, the thing is still working like a champ. It fits nicely instead of my camera backpack and use it to dump photos while on the go, with slow but functional support for the latest Lightroom and Photoshop. The thing also has wired gigabit ethernet, so it always travels with me when I'm working on-site for tech clients. Had a city-wide power outage recently where I was able to quickly hop into the server room with this thing, plug it in, and get to work monitoring the rack of server, AV, and phone equipment while running on emergency power.

    Looking at what is being offered by the link provided, it is just yet ANOTHER random Android device. Cool, I guess? But it wouldn't be able to do any of the actual WORK that I would need it to do. It is essentially just a phone/tablet with an attached keyboard. If I wanted that, there are things like the Transformer Prime from Asus. Or if I wanted to shell out actual money, there are Surface tablets from Microsoft. The thing being offered now adds no real functionality over the existing offerings whatsoever.

  • I have a Lenovo X131e, that I replaced the HDD with an SSD, that gets more use than my tricked out desktop machine. It runs Win7 x64, is mostly used for browsing, but can handle anything from Word to pro audio just fine. It's not tiny or superlight, but it's just the right size to carry around the house, and it's built like a tank.
    A tablet is just an oversized phone, but a netbook is really useful.

  • I have no idea why you would use a tablet. I tried one, and it's awkward to use it for anything else than browsing the Web.

    That's what the majority of people used a computer/laptop for, before tablets took over.

  • Just go to Walmart and buy one -- HP Stream, etc.

  • tablets with bluetooth keyboards caught up with them quickly on price/performance as long as you don't mind working on ios or android, ASUS even makes the transformer tablet that actually docks to the keyboard if you need more rigidity than a tablet with a flip case
  • Nope (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @06:59PM (#54025179)

    Tablets and phablets didn't kill netbooks alone, pricing and other options did.

    I imagine some Linux hardcore users would want a cheap-o laptop with paltry specs to tinker with, but the majority of the market is not interested in that.
    With netbooks, you could at most browse a bit, check e-mails and do the very basic stuff that any smartphone or tablet can do better today, even the extremely cheap ones. And then, with the advent of Chromebooks, you can even get a Windows 10 laptop positioned to compete with it, with prices under 200 bucks.

    I don't think a single guy experience on trying to use an Android tablet for productivity and finding it "awkward" is reason enough to ressurect a line of products that are justifiably dead. Honestly, plenty of people can use Android tablets for productivity well enough, and keyboard accessories ranging from horrible to excellent are already out there. Go on eBay and search for Android laptop if form factor is an issue. Android already has a cleaner and more intuitive interface, and apps like the full Microsoft Office suite, with data synchronization and other native features to boot.

    Nowadays you can also get cheap Windows laptops, tiny desktops like a Kangaroo PC (there's even a Kangaroo laptop with a weird design), stick computers or even something like Gole 1 that can dual boot between Windows and Android.
    You can build your own portable with something like a Raspberry Pi.
    Not to mention Chromebooks among other devices for productivity.

    Honestly, I think it's kinda stupid to try to revive netbooks at this point, personal opinion as a business thing. It'll be an extremely niche market that will fail to scale.
    I'd be all for a Linux tablet though, for personal usage. Not that I think there's a market for that too. What Linux needs these days is to get ported, adapted and get support for devices like smartphones and tablets, not to keep trying to go back in time. Yes, I know Android is based on Linux, but I'm talking about other distros. I know Ubuntu has a version for mobile devices, but those are too limited and impossible to find in the market.

    I'm not a hater or anything like that. I've just converted an old laptop that was laying around into an Ubuntu machine to tinker with. I just don't see a market for netbooks anymore. What we had back then were schools and businesses willing to pay a little for underpowered laptops running Linux for the very basics... but that has changed.

    Furthermore, you know what Netbooks sound like for your average consumer? Extremely underpowered and horrible to deal with devices. Garbage. Expired electronics. Failed strategy. Outdated and deprecated. Something lying in a storage space somewhere with a ton of dust on top. A waste of not a whole lot of money. Outside of Linux evangelists, that's what I mostly hear. Would you want a netbook for work/school/business? Ewww no, gtfo of here with that.

    I can almost guarantee you that most people, if offered a netbook, would rather:
    1. Spend a bit more on a more capable device - Chromebook, Linux or Windows;
    2. Get a bluetooth/OtG keyboard and mouse and use their own smartphones/tablets instead;
    3. Get nothing and keep using whatever they have instead of having to carry an extra device running an OS that they'll need to learn how to deal with.

    Netbooks are dead, let them go gracefully. If you are going to release a new product with similar objectives, call it something else.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      Kinda, sorta.

      What killed netbooks was the pricing. $300 for a laptop? Consumers were happy, but manufacturers were basically shaving costs everywhere to meet the price point. It was almost a money-losing machine - margins were very thin.

      And those machines were cut to the very bare bones.

      Then they started machine machines with bigger screens, bigger keyboards, more memory, etc. And manufacturers were happy - they could upgrade the screen from a 800x480 screen to a 1024x768 (from 7" to 8 or 9") and charge ano

  • Apparently it is "awkward to use it for anything else than browsing the Web"

    But guess what 99% of the population want to use their portable device for...

    Then add the fact that netbooks are also awkward for almost everything except browsing the web, because the screen and the keyboard are too small.
    In addition, browsing the web is better with the screen in portrait mode, than in landscape mode, so the netbook is not even better at that.

    I'm sure there are use cases for netbooks, and I loved my Asus ne
    • But not just the web - a lot of content is formatted for print and that requires viewing an A4 page in portrait. One of my textbooks retails for $AU250 but can be purchased online for a quarter of the price as a ebook. My laptop is useless for reading it so, I plug in my trusty 1024x1280 19" monitor (rotated, of course)

      Landscape is good for movies, speadsheets and IDEs such as Eclipse that tack on sidebars. Documents, not so much.

  • Walk into any Best Buy or Walmart and there will be a usable $200 Windows netbook I actually had a $200 HP stream 12 for a year and a half. It bundled with a year of Office (which I need, and think is much better than Libre), so that's like $80 off the $200. Worked perfectly for work and browsing web and online grad school. Tiny computer, no moving parts, I would just bring it along on trips without thinking about it. I could play Civ 5 on lowest settings, ha.

    The two issues were the 32 Gigs of hard driv

  • The second you cite Salon, you might as well be quoting Breitbart.

  • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @07:35PM (#54025413)

    Most netbooks were full fledged PCs able to run Windows, had ethernet and full-sized USB ports.
    What they offer is just a small tablet with a keyboard. In fact you could just buy a small BT keyboard and use the smartphone you already have.

  • by hambone142 ( 2551854 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @07:38PM (#54025425)

    With Windows 8, the assumption that folks would use a touch screen. Win8 didn't port over to Atom based netbooks.

    I used an Asus 1000HE netbook for many years with WinXP. It served me well. When XP became old, I moved Win7 to the hardware. It was pretty slow. I tried buying an Asus Netbook running Linux. The software was OK but the hardware was a disappointment (a surprise for Asus as they generally make pretty good hardware). I ended up having to return the unit because it had wireless connectivity problems. I need to move Linux on to one of the netbooks.

    I liked the compact size and battery life of the netbooks. I have tablets that I use but they're useless for typing text. Same with phones in my opinion.

    Now, I just use a laptop either running Linux or Win7. I like a real keyboard because I type and I write more than one word or one line responses to emails, etc (and here :-) When Win7 goes away, I won't be using a Microsoft solution due to their "phone home" policies and forced update crap. Their days are numbered with me.

    The only viable solution I see for netbooks is for them to run Linux.

    Microsoft doesn't give a damn about netbooks now, nor did they after WinXP IMHO.

    • Asus are now manufacturing Atom-based devices running Windows 10 with detachable keyboards. i.e. a poor man's Surface 3.

      Albeit they cost 50% than the equivalent non-touchscreen HP Stream 'netbooks'.

  • Everyone has the target market defined backwards. It's not a crippled laptop, it's an Android smartphone with a 12 hour battery life and a keyboard.

    Look at what just happened with Apple and Samsung. They both had significant problems with their product releases because they were trying to make smartphones that were thinner and had more functionality. Apple had a case warp problem and the S8 was an incendiary device.

    Consumers don't give a rat's ass about "thinner" at this point. Given a choice between a th

  • Netbooks were small, weak Windows laptops costing a couple hundred dollars. That market is very healthy, although it partly moved to 2-in-1's. You can find lots of such products on Chinese stores like Gear Best.

    This, on the other hand, is a palmtop. These were small PDA's (remember those) with keyboards. The Psion Series 5MX was one of the best, but there were several Windows CE ones.

    This will certainly have an appeal for those (like me) who remember the 5MX fondly, so thanks for posting about it, even with

  • For the price of these netbooks, you can get a lot more.

  • You can already buy a netbook equivalent for $350. In fact, I've been consistently using my Kindle HDX with the keyboard cover for the past 4 years.

  • hp still makes a netbook with there stream series. acer still makes the cloud book basically a renamed netbook. lots of china makers still make them, not to mention all those x86 windows tablets. netbooks never died off the fad simply ended and android tablets/phones took many of the roles it did but did it better so you just dont see the market flooded with them anymore.
  • by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @11:32PM (#54026503)
    Let's face it: the 7-inch and 9-inch displays in the early netbooks were too small, full stop. The small keyboards were somewhat difficult to use even after acclimating to the smaller layout. I have the original Sylvania G netbook which is just an Everex Cloudbook with the touchpad moved to a less stupid location; it is quite hard to type on that thing due to the key size and the 800x480 7-inch screen isn't exactly a spacious work area. (It also had a VIA C7-M 1.2 GHz, a chip notorious for being quite weak when compared to the Intel Atom N230 that went into the first Eee PCs and Acer Aspire Ones, plus a memory limit of 1GB and a 1.8" parallel hard drive. Even with a KingSpec ZIF SSD and an XP install aligned to sector 64 instead of 63 to work with the flash memory better, it struggles hard to even start it won't boot Windows 7 or later with the default partition layout [] due to a super inexplicable BIOS bug.)

    The 11.6-inch "netbook" of today is the perfect size. The keyboard keys are full-size. The touchpad can be reasonably large. There can be more USB ports. RAM and hard drive upgrades are often possible unless it's one of the Chromebook-based ones with soldered RAM and a 32GB eMMC SSD. The screens are nice and big and always have a minimum resolution width of 1024 pixels, a number which some websites don't even work on without a horizontal scroll bar but which is far better than the 800-pixel screens of the bad old days. They're always thin and light and disposably cheap.

    No one in their right mind wants 7-inch netbooks back. Even 9-inch models have squished keyboards and myopia-inducing screens. The 11.6-inch netbook, despite not carrying that label in the marketing literature, is what the market has settled on...and with good reasons for doing so. I can only see a tiny niche market for uncomfortably small netbooks. Let the old tiny netbook remain peacefully in its grave.
    • Apparently there IS a small minority that wants those tiny netbooks back, thus the crowdfunding projects. Presumably they have some need to run desktop applications and they don't like tablets. The crowdfunded devices are essentially small Windows tablets with a permanently attached keyboard, and work about as well as a tablet and a Bluetooth keyboard in a folio case. (But you don't have to remember to recharge the keyboard as well as the base.)

      I don't think any of those systems will ever grow beyond their

  • Microsoft killed the Netbook. Tablets and phablets came around after the netbook was already dead. I still have my eepc netbook, running Lubuntu. When I use it, people come up and are fascinated, and want to know where they can buy one. But they can't.
  • Aren't "Ultrabooks" the Netbooks we all really wanted? We have 12-13" laptops now that probably have less volume than the 9-12" Netbooks they replaced.
    • by erice ( 13380 )

      Aren't "Ultrabooks" the Netbooks we all really wanted? We have 12-13" laptops now that probably have less volume than the 9-12" Netbooks they replaced.

      Not really. Ultrabooks are thin and stylish at the expensive of practicality and generally not cheap. They are Intel's response to the Macbook Air. Netbooks are small, utilitarian, and cheap. They aren't for everyone or every application but the need for such machines still exists.

  • What I want :

    1. Integrated REAL keyboard - no virtual kbd, no separate bluetooth crap that I must manage its separate battery charge status, can STAND BY ITSELF and GUARANTEED TO STAY IN ONE PIECE on irregular,vibrating surface like bag on my lap on subway so no separate keyboard with kickstand or magnet connected like MS surface/current netbooks
    2. Lightweight for mobile gaming - can be used continually with two hand grip(like nintendo DS) or one hand grip(like smartphone). In my experience the upper weight

  • I hope so (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aglider ( 2435074 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @04:21AM (#54027299) Homepage
    I am fed up with the design of mobile devices (less than 1 Kg) useful only for social-bullsh!t.
    I need a way to connect to my servers and network equipment by CLI on a reasonable screen.
    Touch keyboard eat 50% of a landscape screen.
    Bluetooth keyboard are nice, but need an extra charger.
    Netbooks are great tools, but you need to find one: it's an endangered species.
  • by Frederic54 ( 3788 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @09:18AM (#54028387) Journal
    Spec wise it has an old Atom (overclocked to 2GHz), a 11.6" screen and a Nvidia ION, HDMI output, can decode H264 in hardware without problem, has 3GB of RAM, ethernet, wifi abgn, bluetooth, 3 USB, etc.
    I run Mint 17.3 Xfce on it, it works well, I still use it to debug some code in car application written on AVR ATMEGA, it can compile a 32K project in a few seconds, transfer it via USBasp, serial console via a CP2102, etc. I am using it mainly for this as my other laptop is 17" and too big.

    The bottleneck is the CPU so browsing some big sites like facebook or reddit+res it is slow. I also installed Win10 on a partition to try it, it works fine!

    You can buy one for ~$70 on eBay. To replace it I would need a $300 chromebook and manage to install linux on it, but would miss some keys maybe?

The absent ones are always at fault.