Nokia has taken plenty of heat for the 1GB of RAM in its Booklet 3G, the company’s first netbook (or tiny laptop, whatever you want to call it, it’s a netbook). However, as I’ve done before, I think it’s important to understand the real problem behind this 1GB of RAM, as many sites/people do not seem to correctly present the problem.
First off, let’s get one thing clear: all netbooks ship with 1GB of RAM. You simply cannot order one with more than 1GB of RAM pre-installed, even from Dell, who normally lets users custom build their computers. As I understand it, this is a limitation set in place by Intel on its Atom processors, which pretty much all netbooks use. Go ahead, check on Amazon.com. (Apparently, this is set to change soon, but it hasn’t yet). Update: According to this, it’s not something Intel limits, but rather Microsoft for netbooks that have Windows pre-installed.
So then, what’s the problem? The problem is in the hardware design of the Nokia Booklet 3G. Using the solid aluminum casing, Nokia neglected to build in a way for users to easily upgrade the RAM themselves. I also confirmed with Nokia that the Booklet 3G’s RAM isn’t user-accessible, and even if it was, it’s soldered in, so you couldn’t remove it anyways. This, my friends, is the real problem.
Other netbook manufacturers get around the 1GB limit by making it super-easy for users to upgrade the RAM. Take, for example, my Asus 1000HE. On the bottom of this netbook is a small hatch. If you remove the screws, you’ll find you have direct access to the 1000HE’s RAM, which you can easily remove and replace with a 2GB card. In fact, when I ordered mine, Amazon recommended the 2GB stick, which cost an additional $25, and took 2 minutes to install. Here’s a video showing how easy it is:
So, first, it wasn’t Nokia being cheap or stupid when they put only 1GB of RAM in the Booklet 3G – that’s just part of netbooks, for the time being. However, it was completely Nokia’s doing that there isn’t an easy way for the user to replace the current 1GB stick of RAM with a much better 2GB stick, and this is something that future Booklets will hopefully not be affected with.