Back in January I posted about purchasing a Dell Mini 9, wanting to see what how it worked and a certain amount of cool factor to it. In the months since the popularity of netbooks has definitely increased (you think my blog caused that?) and I could be wrong, but I think that price rather than form factor is the driving force. Having had the Mini 9 for a few months, I don’t use it as much as I had hoped, for a couple reasons; one is that the keyboard is just too small for me, maybe even a inch or two wider would make a lot of difference, and the other is that I’m still anchored to my main laptop – all my tools are there, I’m used to it.
All is not lost. It’s a great machine for kids. Though it’s now missing 3 key caps, it still works fine and it’s child sized. At $300, it’s almost child priced too. I won’t be happy if it gets broken in half, but it’s not going to be a huge event either. It’s been so popular that we may buy a second one so that they each have one.
If you’re considering a netbook, I think you have to think hard about how you work. If you’re using web based mail, document creation, etc, then I think it would work very well. Or if you commit to loading it up and treating it a like a “real” laptop. The hard part is if you want both – when you travel can you live without all the stuff on your main machine? Think through how you’ll keep docs & data in sync.
Ultimately I wonder if it won’t be the straw the drove down the MS licensing costs for the OS. Just not much room in a $300 machine for an expensive license, and the same for MS Office.