User avatar
Emanuele
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:28 pm
Contact: Website

Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:05 am

I don't know if anybody noticed, but netbooks are all but disappeared from the high street retailers. To be honest, I was avoiding the latest models anyway (the latest atoms have poor support for graphics in linux), even considering that I have an aging one and I would love to replace it. I'm tempted to buy the just announced Acer C7 and dual boot with debian.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/6448/goog ... oks-to-199

I'm a bit concerned about the GPU component of the Intel Celeron 847, though.

http://ark.intel.com/compare/55764,56056

It's a SandyBridge CPU (very good), but it doesn't come with Intel HD Graphics (very bad). I wouldn't want to find myself with a poorly supported PowerVR-based GMA. Does anyone have some info?

rvalles
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:51 pm

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:51 am

The current generation are garbage anyway. The only thing going for them is they have a keyboard.

That they're trying to sell these things with nasty TN screens at 1366x768 while nexus 10 is out there doing AMOLED 2560x1600 is sort of a bad joke.

I expect the next generation of netbooks and laptops will finally have proper screens. Until then, you'd have to be nuts to buy a "netbook" of these over some second hand lenovo with higher specs or a current tablet.

User avatar
Emanuele
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:28 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:57 am

Well, is there going to be a next generation of netbooks? I know there is a Windows 7 Starter, I haven't heard of a Windows 8 Starter.

I've been using a netbook for almost three years now, and I'm happy with what I'd be getting. Even the 3 hours battery life wouldn't be a deal breaker for the way I'd use it. For programming, this one looks fine. For media consumption, I'd go with a Nexus too (7 in my case).

The ARM one looks like better quality, but an intel one sounds better supported (e.g. official JDK).

A second hand thinkpad could be an alternative and it's probably the only laptop I'd consinder buying second hand, but still... a second hand laptop? I'm not really convinced.

prodata
Posts: 163
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:53 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:05 am

Like most sweeping generalisations this is wide of the mark. Netbooks are still readily available (don't most people buy them online anyway?). And for some applications, netbooks are unbeatable, eg if you need a PC:

* That has screen and keyboard to hand - can't do better than built-in;
* Is genuinely compact (while still offering a 10" screen and good-sized keyboard);
* Can run 24/7 almost indefinitely with minimum of power consumption (20W or so, probably less with tweaking), provided AC mains is available;
* Effectively has a built-in UPS;
* Runs most Windows applications perfectly adequately (provided they're not too demanding on RAM or speed);
* etc

For any such application profile that needs to run Windows applications, netbooks are ideal.

User avatar
Emanuele
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:28 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:08 am

Yes, sorry for the eye-catching title. They are not dead, true, but the are clearly dying. Sure, inventories have to be cleared and you cannot really pick a day... or maybe you can. If I had to pick a day when the netbook died, it's when Microsoft unveiled the new Windows 8 license line-up: Windows 8 RT (ARM-only and with secure boot that cannot be disabled) replacing Windows 7 Starter.

If I had to pick a day when consumers finally started to like chromebooks, it's when the arm chromebook sold out on amazon. But the jury is still out on this one.

If I had to pick a day to mark the transition, for me (a programmer who's been riding on the back of the general consumer to get a cheap, transportable programming environment), it's probably today.

mikerr
Posts: 2789
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:46 pm
Location: UK
Contact: Website

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:40 am

hehh, you like the hyperbole - Surface RT is priced nearly double netbook levels!

I like that microsoft has basically ported the whole of windows 7 to ARM
(Surface RT does have all the desktop UI lurking there)
but it's not replacing netbooks just yet.

The main factor with netbooks is that they are cheap, not just small.

I'm not sold on chromebooks either, again priced too high - unless they were less than a nexus 7, say £99.
Android app - Raspi Card Imager - download and image SD cards - No PC required !

User avatar
hayesey
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:46 pm
Location: Manchester, England

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:51 am

Emanuele wrote: A second hand thinkpad could be an alternative and it's probably the only laptop I'd consinder buying second hand, but still... a second hand laptop? I'm not really convinced.
Do it!

I love my Thinkpad T60. It cost me about £100, I spent a bit on some memory (taking it to it's max of 3GB) and a 64GB SSD and it absolutely flies with Ubuntu and Gnome 3. Total cost less than £200 and it's a really, really good quality laptop. It's a cliché but they don't make them like that any more :)

For ultra-portability I also have a tablet (an iPad 1 for various reasons but it'll get replaced with an Android tablet this christmas). A tablet and a bluetooth keyboard does a far better job of being ultra portable than netbooks ever did, this is why they are disappearing. If I need a "proper" computer then I take my IBM T60.

tufty
Posts: 1456
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:02 pm

Exactly. For around the price of a chromebook, you can pick up a refurbed x200 ultraportable with 7 hours plus of battery life if you shop carefully - you get a good (rather than crappy chiclet) keyboard, trackpoint rather than godawful trackpad and so on. Despite lenovo having a less than stellar reputation, it's a business quality machine rather than supermarket shelf lowest common denominator.

gritz
Posts: 449
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 2:33 am

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:03 pm

As you're looking to dual boot then I'd probably wait a while and let someone else do the "beta testing" - or buy from somewhere with a walk - on - water returns policy. Any piece of hardware expressly assembled with a certain operating system in mind might get the sulks when presented with another O.S. - even if a glance at the a component list suggests that it "might be compatible" (been there, done that...) TBH If you can wait 'til after Christmas then you'll probably be able to pick up a preowned one for peanuts, but as has been said, a decent secondhand laptop may well be a better investment unless you have compelling reasons to "go lite."

"Never an early adopter be" - especially regarding cheap consumer electronics.

I'm posting this from a netbook btw! :)

User avatar
Emanuele
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:28 pm
Contact: Website

Re: Netbooks are dead, long live chromebooks

Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:37 pm

My netbook is hooked to a proper keyboard/mouse/monitor 80% of the time, so, for me, the quality of the keyboard is less crucial than you would expect. On the other hand, proper support for external monitors from linux is crucial. I don't know how thinkpads fare in that regard. The trackpoint is actually a little question mark for me. I tried it for a few minutes and I didn't like it, so I'd have to hope that I can get used to it. You could say that I'm looking more for something that is very convenient to move from place to place rather than something that is used mostly on the road. Thinkpads are solid contenders, but it's not so clear cut for my usage.

As for skrewing things up trying to install linux, chromebooks look pretty good in that regard. If I got it right, the firmware has the ability to recover Chrome OS from a USB flash drive, and the disk image is just free for anyone to download; no registration / license nonsense.

Finger crossed, my netbook will still keep working for a few months more, so, yeah, waiting after Christmas is a good idea. To be honest, I'm not an early adopter myself and this would be an exception for me.

Return to “Off topic discussion”