There will be a lot of money made and lost determining precisely how the space between smartphones and laptops is divvied up. The netbook, of course, is the new kid on the block.
There is a lot to learn about netbooks, and this feature at Stuff is a good place to start. The mini-buyer's-guide begins with a long introduction. Among other things, netbooks are available with both hard and flash drives. Some devices, the writer says, will be available in 12 GB flash or 80 GB hard drives for about the same price. Also, it is a good idea to go for 1 GB of RAM when using Windows; 512 MB will suffice for Linux. The writer describes the Acer Aspire One, The Asus Eee PC 901, the MSI Wind and the HP 2133. The verdict is that the Eee has the best features, but the Aspire One is the best bet overall.
Whatever Dell does is important, and the company has released its first netbook in the Inspiron Mini 9. The device is 8.9 inches and will start at $349 with Linux and $50 more with Windows XP. Dell follows Asus, HP, Acer, MSI and Lenovo into the market. The story provides details of the new device, which is reported to be similar to its competitors except for the omission of a row of function keys.
Lenovo broke into the netbook sector last month. This piece looks at the IdeaPad S9 (based on Linux) and the S10 (Windows). The S10 display, at 10 inches, is about 1.1 inches bigger than the IdeaPad. The devices feature a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, a 1.3 megapixel webcam, Wi-Fi networking, and as much as 160 GB of storage. Desktop Linux offers many other details of the new devices.
Samsung has released a device that sounds just about like the other netbooks. Finally, speculation -- reported on at jkOnTheRun -- is that Toshiba also is getting into the netbook act. The rumored device sounds like the others: It is said to offer an 8.9-inch screen, an Atom 1.6 GHz processor, a four-cell battery, Windows XP and either a flash or hard drive.
Vendors will continue to fight over the sector between smartphones and laptops. Indeed, sorting out the device classifications is difficult for neophytes, making this DeviceGuru piece helpful. This space will shrink as smartphones get more powerful and laptops lighter and cheaper. The netbook's price and utility may give it something of an advantage.