In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Is the netbook form factor good for anything?

Last night, my uncle called me to ask the same question about his netbook for the third time. Right when he started out, I knew what it was and was just thinking he should get an iPad the whole time. Netbooks are the wrong form factor for just about everything, especially if you aren’t tech savvy.

He called me to ask me about how to use a dialog box that goes off the screen. It was his third time with that issue. The first time, he was installing Adobe Acrobat Reader and the button on the license acceptance dialog was off screen. The second time, it was with installing some DVD software. And now, the third time, he was trying to print and the button was off screen.

The problem with netbooks is they take an operating system meant for a full system and squeeze it down to a little 9-10” display with a resolution of only 1024x600. Nobody has designed anything with that small a resolution in mind for at least 10 years, if not longer. 800x600 dialogs were common before the web really caught on, before DVDs, and before laptops were actually mobile.

I’d thought of getting a netbook but am very glad I didn’t. Having seen my uncle’s and a few others, and especially after getting my hands on an iPad, there is no comparison. The iPad is an OS and software designed with the form factor in mind. A netbook and even future products like the HP Slate take a desktop OS and software and use it in a way never intended.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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