I don’t have a netbook. I haven’t even used one. But I do know that Apple should make one.
Netbooks are small, light, long-running-on-a-charge laptops. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the price: about $300 for an Acer. In Atlanta, if you sign up for AT&T internet, they’ll give you one for $50.
Often they run Windows XP or Linux, to keep the price down. (You can guess that Microsoft hates them, since they get about $50 less for bundled XP than for bundled Vista.) The processors and hard drives are of course weaker and smaller than those of their larger counterparts. But they are meant for doing word processing and email. (If you want to do video editing, go to a desktop.)
So if Apple would make one and keep the price below $500, I predict they would sell a ton. The Air is just too expensive for most people and big compared to netbooks. Most MacBook Pro owners would love to have a smaller, lighter computer for short business trips — when their iPhone alone won’t cut it.
You can bet that it would be much more elegant than what I mocked up here!
Finally, the luxury pick of netbooks would be one made by Sony. They have been creating netbooks longer than the rest. And their quality is normally quite good.
Update: Jeremy Tanner runs Mac on a Dell Inspiron Mini 9. The base price is around $279. The software is extra, and your warranty will probably be voided. But that sounds like a great way to go!
Update 2: TUAW has a long post on why the “hackintosh” may not be the way to go, if you were considering that.
You already know about Kindle. It’s the most widely-used mobile book device out there. (Maybe I’m wrong on that, now that Amazon has released Kindle software for the iPhone.)
I’m not going to review the device here. Time magazine gave a good tech review. Josh Marshall (PhD) gave a great reflection on the future of paper books. So I don’t want to go over old ground. I just wanted to suggest a totally new approach to the whole area of mobile reading devices…
Do you remember Polaroid cameras? They were really cheap, but the film (print-film) was very expensive. That model worked fine until digital cameras sadly killed off Polaroids. (Yes, there is a new Polaroid printer, the PoGo that is really cool, but that’s another story.) And mobile phones? Cheap or free (except smart phones, of course) because money is made in connection fees or monthly rates.
I’d propose that Amazon sell the Kindle for $49 and increase the price of mobile content for it. They would sell far more content, the authors would get more royalties, and people like me could have a Kindle! ($359 is about $310 too much for me.) I am sure they would make more money in the long run.
Apologies to the image copyright holder — I couldn’t even find out who it was from the source.
Update: The Kindle DX is a bigger reader — but also bigger priced ($489).