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It may be hard to remember, but just a few short years ago consumers were snapping up 'netbooks', those laptop lookalikes that were as affordable as they were small, at a rapid pace.
How rapid? 5.6m of them were sold in the third quarter of 2008 alone.
Thanks to Apple, we know that there's a market for tablet computing devices. But what we still don't know is how the growth of tablet devices will impact the usage of other computing devices.
Some, not surprisingly, believe that the tablet is a killer. A popular meme on this front: the iPad is killing netbooks. But is that really the case?
Yesterday, Google held a press conference at its Mountain View headquarters to provide the world with an update on its new operating system, Chrome OS.
A lot of new details were forthcoming, which have have been well-covered by others. The questions on everyone's mind: is Chrome OS the real deal? Where does it fit in? How will it impact the OS market. My answers: it isn't, nowhere, it won't. Here are 12 reasons why Chrome OS is going to fail.
There was a considerable amount of excitement when Google announced Chrome OS. Many felt that it was a significant development that would not only have an impact on Google's future, but on Microsoft's future.
But the fate of one Android-based netbook may be a sign of things to come for Google's OS efforts.
The notion that information wants to be free might be good for many consumers, but it is isn't exactly welcomed by people who want to sell that information. According to Simon Dumenco, however, technology wants to be free as well. And that should help people looking to sell information.
Writes Dumenco at AdAge today: "Here's why I'm suddenly hopeful about the media industry: Because the tech industry is screwed too."
When asked about netbooks earlier this year, Apple COO Tim Cook didn't beat around the bush: "They have cramped keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens, and just not a consumer experience, and not something that we would put the Mac brand on, quite frankly".
That's fine, but the reality is that netbooks have made a huge mark on the market and have been given credit for driving much of the growth in the PC market. It's not hard to see why: for $300 or less in some cases, consumers can have an internet-capable 'mini-laptop'. In this economy, it's safe to say that many netbooks have been sold to consumers who otherwise would not have made a laptop purchase due to price considerations.
It's hard to argue that Windows Vista hasn't been a disappointment for Microsoft. And it hopes the next version, Windows 7, will reverse its fortunes.
Despite the fact that early reviews of Windows 7 provide reasons for hope, the success of it is far from certain. One of the biggest unknowns: whether or not Microsoft's new Windows Anytime Upgrade will sink or swim.
The recession has been tough on most publicly-traded tech companies. Even Google, which has held up quite well, has admitted that the recession has made an impact on its business.
So is there any major tech company that hasn't really been affected? After reading its Q2 results yesterday, you might be inclined to answer 'yes'; Apple appears about as close to unaffected as a company can be.
Netbooks are on the rise. The bare-bones laptops, which typically cost under $500 and are designed for web surfing and email, are increasingly the focus of major PC makers looking for growth.
And for good reason.