A Netbook is the new wave of portable computer which is notable by its size, operating system, price, performance and features.   A netbook computer is a sub-notebook, and is the logical evolution and miniaturization of the laptop computer.  Typically the netbook is less capable from a performance perspective, is cheaper and has some limitations in terms of the operating system. The netbook can be described as a new type of laptop computer, defined by size, price, performance, and operating system. They are small, cheaper, less powerful, and run either Windows XP (not XP Professional) or Linux.

Netbook computers run Windows XP Home edition or Linux.  It is not clear how popular Linux based Netbooks will be long term.  The majority of the early lesser powered  Netbook computers will not run Windows XP professional or Vista, and it is becoming clear some manufacturers are not targeting the performance notebook business market due to the lack of horsepower to run  more demanding applications. The new Microsoft Operating system Windows 7 is expected to be released in a "starter" version which will be a lower cost operating sysytem, with significant modifications when compared to the full blown Windows 7 system.  The new system in the starter configuration will only run 3 application programs at a time and will lack some of the graphical features of the full featured version.  The new system however, is expected to yield robust performance when configured on netbook computers. 

Over time it is expected that more capable netbooks will push the definition of what a laptop computer is now, since netbooks with 12 inch display screens are at the lower end of what has been called a laptop computer in the past.

Typical netbooks weigh from 2 to 3 pounds, have 7 to 12 inch screens and have keyboards that are approximately 20 percent smaller than the normal laptop.

Price wise netbooks range from the $300's to over $700  The more pricey models are evolving with features and performance that push the performance definition of laptops.

A typical netbook computer will have the following characteristics:

  • Screen resolution of 1024x600
  • Intel Atom CPU running at 1.6-GHz
  • Wi-Fi B and G
  • 100Mbps Ethernet
  • SSD Memory/Upgrades to HD
  • Flash RAM memory card slot
  • VGA output jack for external monitor
  • Integrated graphics
  • Three USB ports
  • Built-in camera
  • Headphone and microphone jacks
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