The New York Times notes that Netbooks are making a bit of a comeback with sales rising despite the recession. They say that these web-connected mini-laptops with just-good-enough computing and low prices are now in demand while PC sales are dropping:
A netbook does not need the world’s most powerful microprocessor on board, because the constant connection to the Internet endows even the least expensive version, or an even smaller smartphone, with the supplemental power of acres of server computers that reside in the cloud and provide the power of a virtual supercomputer.
When netbooks display Web pages with a nice snap, and still go all day on a single battery charge, the desktop will be outnumbered at an even faster rate — eventually making it a vestige of an earlier time, before computing became fully mobile and genuinely personal.
The inert desktop is as aptly called a “personal computer” as a grandfather clock is called a “personal time-keeping device.” It’s always at your service — until you leave the room.