Netbooks Are Like Dumbphones

I should start this with a definition – a ‘dumbphone’ is not meant to be derogatory, but rather a description of any phone not classified as a ‘smartphone’ (see where the dumb- comes from?). One of the key ‘features’ of a dumbphone, for most people, is that it’s *not* a smartphone. It doesn’t try to do everything, nor does a dumbphone typically do one thing really well. Rather, it’s more of a mid-range in terms of functionality. Dumbphones usually focus on the more simple tasks of sending/receiving calls, strong battery life, etc. They’re not typically known for a fantastic photography, mobile web, or music experience.

Likewise, I see netbooks (defined [by me] as 10″ or smaller display, usually an Intel ATOM processor, and less than stellar specs) as the dumbphone of the computer industry. These smaller laptops are typically underpowered in terms of processing and overall speed. They usually have smaller hard drives than a full-on laptop, and typically do not have fancy graphics abilities or things like that. Instead, netbooks tend to focus more on stupendous battery life, user friendly interfaces, and similar.

It’s rather interesting to me because I demand a smartphone. I use my S60-powered smartphones to the max, making full use of the built-in GPS receiver, camera/video functions, and more importantly, their ability to multitask and really help me do more things in less time. Ironically, though, while I do have a full-powered Dell XPS M1330 laptop, I’m increasingly drawn to netbooks as a backup (nearly to the point I could see using a desktop for my ‘production’ machine), and am even more increasingly drawn to the ones with longer battery life, as opposed to the faster processor, more internal storage, or the ability to playback high-quality multimedia files.

Interesting how two similar mobile tools can prompt such different uses.

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