Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/195256/a-short-history-of-netbooks-a-technology-before-their-time/
Once, people seemed to love netbooks and were buying them in droves. Today, people love to hate netbooks. Netbooks sit unused and gathering dust in drawers and closets. But the core ideas behind netbooks lives on today.
I still bemoan buying the more Notebook-like EEEPC 1000H instead of the 9" model or the fanless Dell netbook. The latter I would have used as a webcomic reading device at least for some time more and might have kept taking with me to university.
The worst part though was, that I eventually found myself unable to play even low-resolution Youtube videos, despite reinstalling Windows XP. Originally it worked. I wonder if it was a degredation of Flash-Player performance over time or a degredation of hardware components.
I spent more than 5 years in Africa and I bought Acer Aspire One Netbook from there. It has 1,6 Ghz Atom, 1 GB ram and 160 GB HDD. It was handy to carry, unnoticeable and did its job ok. Yes, I didn't manipulate images with it and even with XP it was a bit slow. In Africa you are not in hurry anyway;) But amazingly it ran also with Win 7 Ultimate. Slowly but stable. Now it has found it's way back to my life, like second coming, as a test platform and I use it also with Linux antiX. That works brilliantly on it. My old Acer works faster than ever before with it. And thats not all: It fits very nicely to my reasonable sized camera bag.
So after all i wouldn't say those were just bad. They work well in net surfing, chatting in IRC , emailing and in other small things.
Now it's battery has dried up but fortunately I have found new battery for it.
I felt i need to share a pic with you how little of resources my old Acer Netbook takes with lightweight Linux. Check to conky. When browser (Iceweasel) is open memory usage rises only up to 110-130M.
They were fun for about 20 minutes then they were just annoying.
Purely a way for Intel to clear out a load of weak single Atom CPUs that no one wanted. Parts bin specials basically.
I refused to support them about two years ago, as folks would bring them to me complaining they were slow. I used to say "Your netbook is slow...because it's a slow computer!"
Putting a 64GB SSD in a netbook two years ago would have been financially non-viable and a waste of time.
Thank goodness tablets came along and destroyed them. Miserable machines.
I love my Eee PC 1005hab. I've found that xubuntu 14.04 works great. Over a period of years I upgraded ram to 2gb (essential) and replaced HDD with cheap 128gb SSD ( not trivial upgrade). The SSD did not speed up processing significantly. I do basic computing: YouTube, use dual monitor set-up on occasion, compile simple java programs, word processing. Downside is the low-res screen.
Still have an old Asus Eee PC in a closet. Actually keep thinking about selling it (believe it or not, people do buy them on ebay still) but getting the original Linux distro back on (and Windows XP, which I installed off) was a total chore. Back in the closet it went.
Man, so much hate for netbooks. I for one loved my EEE PC. It ran XP with 2GB RAM, so was plenty fast for what I needed out of it. Web browsing, some coding, and some homework. I think most people were disappointed if they thought it would suffice as their main PC. But if you used it as a truly portable PC (and let's face it, laptops at that time weren't really that portable), it was a great computer. Oh, and the battery lasted for 7-8 hours.
I must be the odd one out. I prefer Netbooks to smartphones, tablets or indeed laptops for my portable computing - I recently installed Windows 8.1 on my Samsung NC 10 and it worked great! Found a fix for the resolution problem which works, and last week installed 2GB of memory without a problem.
It does exactly what I want, surf, youtube video's etc - Sweet!
I actually have 2 netbooks: one is a Lenovo convertible tablet/notebook, and the other is an HP with an AMD CPU.
Both are fairly capable machines. The Lenovo gets used exclusively for Skype, Spotify, and video playback, and the HP gets used mostly for Minecraft. Yes, the early netbooks like the Eee PC were woefully underpowered, but today's machines with 1.6 and 2 GHz quad-core CPU's have plenty of juice for the average bear...
it was not a big issue with atom, the biggest issue was slow SSD (like really slow) and the chipset, that on early ones consumed more than the CPU itself. Atoms were not actually that bad.
Count me as an odd man out, too. I got tired lugging a heavy laptop on business trips, when I just needed to handle email and access the internet. I bought an inexpensive Toshiba netbook with Windows 7. It does everything I need on the road and weighs next to nothing. The keys are large enough for touch typing and the display permits easy reading. It could never serve as my only computer, but for travel it's ideal.
I actually used one as my first home server. I attached a 500GB external hdd, and really, if you don't need the power, they're perfect for a private server. They have a built in screen that when folded takes almost 0 room, you don't waste power on graphics for a text only OS, and it had a built in battery backup. What's not to love?
Sure it was a little underpowered, but it was able to stream as a PLEX server pretty reliably at full 1080p. I wouldn't try streaming a bunch of devices simultaneously, but it was a neat little setup.
I have a EEE-PC 1005 HAB that I have running Windows 8.1 Pro the screen resolution isn't natively compatible but I found a hack for a driver that makes it work. I have upgraded the RAM and while it isn't a power house it does surf the web and stream videos from my Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials machine usually without any issues. So while I wouldn't want a netbook as my only computer it is a good form factor for certain things.
I would push the start of the Netbook back a couple years. The One Laptop Per Child initiative started in 2005 and pushed the computer industry to create a footprint that could be used for education (wifi, keyboard, color screen) and be chargeable in environments where electricity is uncertain. Netbooks were built on that footprint and early versions were sold in a give-one-get-one model.
I have had an ASUS eeePC Netbook since 2008. I have updated it to the maximum RAM (2GB) and replace the puny 160GB hard drive with a 480GB Solid State Drive. It runs cool and is my traveling computer. Indeed, it has literally been half around the world with me from Sydney to Venice. The Atom processor is a bit slow but I am able to run Office 2003 and Photoshop CS2 on the unit. I would purchase a higher powered unit if available in the same small package. The original reason for the purchase was a very restrictive one bag carry-on limit by United Airlines when we were going to visit Australia and return to the U.S. on a cruise. I wanted both my computer and my large Fuji S3 digital camera and I needed to be in a very confined space and under 17Kg total. My bag actually weighed 17.3Kg which they let pass. Due to the processor I am unable to run Office 2007 but I hardly know the difference with Office 2003 that comes with Menus. I hope for a new more powerful Netbook in the future.
Atoms are largely a huge waste of silicon.The only ones worth anything were the dual cores with hyper threading.
Netbooks just suffered as a result. Terrible CPU performance, stingy RAM, slow 8GB SSDs, terrible 4200RPM HDDs, crappy 1024x600 screens that were too small to display menus and the options properly. Just a totally frustrating user experience.
I gave my linux Acer Aspire One away a few months ago as I was going to throw it in the trash but a customer took it off my hands for nothing. I wouldn't have had the nerve to ask for money for that.
Get a Chromebook, a far more useful experience.
I have an Asus EEE. It's a pain if I try to do any intense web surfing, and it's only getting worse with the overwritten web pages of today. But I bought it for writing. I can go out and write for hours without worrying about the battery. It keeps up with my word processor just fine. It's power consumption is so small that I replaced my bedroom clock with it (big desktop clock and hidden icons) and I can read it across the room without my glasses. If a contact pops up on chat it gets my attention quickly without dragging me away from work on my real computer. The EEE's 160 gig hard drive is more than I need for text files and I use it as an auto backup drive for my work. I wish it would keep up with the web and YouTube, but ultimately it does what I bought it for and does it well. It was also $3000 cheaper than my previous laptop.
Ha...my first embedded picture.
I love my Toshiba NB305 Netbook. Works great with WIN 8 and 2Gb. It is not heavy, it suits in short places. It is useful in my work (field support) and trainning. My work applications have no problems. When I´m home, only have to connect an external display and keyboard, if I need a large display. I´m only waiting for cheaper and larger SDD.
I love my Samsung Netbook! I've had two years and I have Ubuntu installed on it. It's ideal for taking on holiday with me if I need to check my emails or update my blog. Because it has a proper keyboard (albeit a small one) I find it easier to type on than using a tablet.
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