Battle Lines: the netbook flap.
Over the past few weeks several articles/blog posts have appeared, all aimed at taking some of the tarnish off the Netbook (just in time for Christmas sales). Most recently, Michael Arrington at Tech Crunch gave netbooks a real work-over. Interestingly he heralds the iPhone/iPod Touch and similar devices as the “cloud terminals” (to use my phrase) pointing the way to the future, and concludes that there is no room between these pocketable devices and a full sized, full powered, laptop.
With Netbooks Intel was aiming for what they considered a potential “adjacent market”…a unfilled niche in educational and developing country computing.
They missed, but in doing so they discovered, or uncovered, an unsuspected niche…which is apparently the true potential adjacent market…and which is apparently quite large…maybe a pocket as opposed to a niche…the inexpensive mobile connected keyboard computing device market.
That’s IMCKCD and I am, right here, copyrighting the term. “Inexpensive mobile connected keyboard computing device”© Stephen Ingraham or “IMCKCD”© Stephen Ingraham. There.
That leaves room, of course for the IMCCD, which is the same thing without the keyboard. The iPod Touch in other words. Either works as a “cloud terminal”®™ 🙂 and both are needed by the highly mobile computer (person, not machine, to be hereafter hmC).
You are not going to run spreadsheets or Adobe Lightroom or create powerpoints on an IMCCD. For that the hmC needs a netbook (and netbooks do the job just fine, so well that most of us IMCKCD users no longer miss our laptops).
On the other hand you are not going to play much music or watch much video on an airplane with a Netbook (at least until someone solves the battery problem). You are certainly not going to plug your netbook into the car’s entertainment system on a 6 hour drive. For that a IMCCD (iPhone or iPod Touch) is what you need.
You can certainly do your email…twitter, update facebook, check out your location on Google Maps, get the weather, check the stock report, etc., etc…on whichever device is in your hand at the moment.
And that is as it should be.
The blessing is that neither IMCKCDs or IMCCD are very big. Neither will weigh you down. The hmC can carry both, and with a lot less hassle than a laptop and a pda.
Besides, netbooks are just more fun! As one of the bloggers pointed out, most people’s eyes light up when they see one for the first time (heck, mine light up everytime I see a new one). Instant. Automatic. So inherently attractive to the gadgetophile.
Finally, I just don’t get the point of all the netbook bashing. They are new products with new and unique potentials (and their own set of limitations). In the end the only vote that matters is the one people make with their credit cards…and the election is ongoing.
I suspect, if early returns are any indication, that both IMCKCDs and IMCCDs are going to be big winners in the year to come.