I’ve long been skeptical of netbooks, but clearly, I need to reassess my elitist attitude toward them. I wasn’t a fan partially because I don’t like using them and partially because I didn’t believe that consumers would really go for a machine that seems to call for so many compromises. Most early versions didn’t use the Windows software familiar to most consumers, and the machines still have crummy graphics performance and require expensive 3G contracts in order to make them truly mobile.
However, perhaps I was too hard on them, or maybe I just forgot the appeal of cheap gadgets, because this weekend I was treated to a taste of how popular netbooks seem to be. On Sunday afternoon, I saw an ad for an HP netbook in the Toys “R” Us weekly circular, and I stumbled across my latest Consumer Reports featuring on the cover an Asus Eee PC with ratings for netbooks, laptops and desktops inside. (The Samsung NC10-14GB was the No. 1 pick.)
So while I may not want a netbook, plenty of others do. As more people seek cheap alternatives to laptops for their kids and smaller machines for travel and to take to coffee shops, I could soon be in the minority. For those seeking netbook nirvana, check out the broad coverage over at our sister blog jkOnTheRun or some of the following posts that offer a quick primer on the machines.