Will The Smart Phone Kill The Netbook?

Will The Smart Phone Kill The Netbook?

Over at Hyrdapinion, guest columnist and tech journalist Alex Kidman (yep, he’s my brother) argues that rises in netbook prices coupled with a relative lack of innovation and the annoying Microsoft-imposed 1GB memory limit on XP netbooks mean that the prospect of a relatively cheap minimalist PC isn’t as appealing as it was a year ago, and that well equipped smart phones may dampen any further growth in the netbook space. Unlike Alex, I have no issue with writing columns using a BlackBerry, so this is a scenario I can quite easily imagine coming a about. Do you think the netbook revolution has lost momentum? Share your thoughts in the comments.


  • I turned my netbook (eee-701) into a low-power home server. After adding 2GB of RAM and an external hard drive it consumes just 30W – far less than my desktop’s 150-200W while idling. I don’t think a smartphone is going to replace that functionality!

  • I can’t fathom why anyone would want a netbook when as best as I can figure you can get a better notebook/laptop for a cheaper price. Just the name netbook seems to be selling that junk.

  • I carry my 8gb N95 and my Eee PC absolutely everywhere with me (though granted, the first thing I did was put more RAM in) and the two fulfill totally separate roles for me.

    My N95 is a great phone and portable media player, which my netbook is not capable of handling. At the same time I like to get development done, both for work and study done while I’m on the run and a netbook is the ideal machine for this.

    At least for me the two fulfill totally separate roles and while they’re great at their purposes, neither one could make the other obsolete.

    That said, I can certainly see netbooks undermining a key element in their popularity with their climbing prices.

  • Personally, having a Netbook (Acer Aspire One) and an iPhone 3G – I find myself using them in a complementary manner – The netbook gets used for tasks that the iPhone is not so good at – I use the iPhone all day every day, and the Netbook when it’s just easier to grab it out of my bag.

  • as I see it — smartphones are gradually replcaing conventional mobiles, (historically this is completely manufacturer driven as they push further convergence simply as a means to sell more units); netbooks are supplanting the traditional use of laptops (notebooks), as a convenient and highly portable device for web browsing/email/Office on-the-road, (sure they’re not ideal for everyone but that covers the basic needs of 99% of users whilst out-and-about); laptops in turn, are rapidly replacing the desktop PC for home users (I’m not clear why this is so, but the sales figures over the last couple of years are indisputable evidence of this, again it’s not for everyone but maybe the appeal of watching movies in bed, downloading porn in the bathroom, or gaming lounging on the sofa, rather than traditionally hunched over a desk at home is driving this); this situation has also created the need for more choice in home server PCs, (i.e. home security/lighting/automation/entertainment/mass storage), I predict we’ll see a great deal more in that emerging market over the next few years.

  • I have both a Linux-based Acer Aspire One and an iPhone. The devices are totally complimentary. In some circumstances I use the netbook, while in others I use the iPhone, e.g. I can carry my iPhone in my pocket anywhere. While the netbook is small and light, it is not quite pocket size!

    For Internet connectivity on the road for the netbook, I use a Virgin Broadband USB modem that was simple to setup, the software drivers were already installed, and configuration was simple. (Note that pretty much every 3G USB modem now works with a the latest Linux distributions, except the Bigpond supplied ZTE MF636BP. But who uses Bigpond 3G, the price is outrageous!).

    With regard to the restrictions imposed by Microsoft when using Windows, who cares! Manufacturers can put as much functionality as they like in their Linux versions.

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