November 2008

Why I Disagree with TechCrunch’s 3 Anti-Netbook Points

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington makes some interesting points in…

Three Reasons Why Netbooks Just Aren’t Good Enough

I think I agree with his basic point that netbooks are NOT notebook replacements. But, I disagree with the rationale given. Here are his main points and my issues with them.

1. Arrington says netbooks are underpowered: The question is what does he mean by underpowered? Underpowered for what? Video processing? Yep. Heavy PhotoShop use? Yep. 3D graphics intensive games? Yep, again. But, what about what netbooks are presumably designed for: Web browsing, email, word processing, small to medium size spreadsheets, etc. The netbooks I’ve tried perform these tasks just fine. Quite frankly, the Atom processors in the Acer Aspire One and Asus Eee PC 1000H I have are plenty fast compared to desktop and notebook PCs I used a couple of years ago back when I was using Windows XP and Linux. Oh wait, what am I running today on my netbooks? Hey, I’m still using Windows XP and Linux. Does that mean all the desktops and notebooks I used prior to the emergence of the Core 2 Duo were unacceptable too? Perhaps, but I do not think so.

2. Arrington says netbook screens are too small for effective web surfing: The TechCrunch piece keeps talking about 7 inch screens. Except for the first Asus Eee PCs that came out, most current generation netbooks (starting around this past summer) comes with 8.9 inch or 10 inch displays. And, the resolution has gone up from 800×400 to 1024×600. Yes, 600 vertical pixels seems a little low to me sometimes too. But, I don’t find myself scrolling horizontally with a 1024 wide display. My Asus Eee PC 1000H with its 10 inch screen is the netbook that is on the road (and air) with me all the time these days. It is more than fine for web browsing. And, yes, I’m using it right now to write and edit this blog entry (which is getting kind of long).

3. Arrington says netbook keyboards are too small for effective typing: Again, it depends on which netbook you are using. Yes, the original Asus Eee PCs with the 7 inch screen and proportiately small keyboards are too small for many adult hands. But, I’ve found the keyboard on the Acer and Asus netbooks I’ve used for the past couple of months quite good for typing. I can touch type on both keyboards and maintain what seems to me to be a normal touch typing speed.

So, while I don’t recommend rendering video, running PhotoShop with large images, or working on a spreadsheet with thousands of rows on a netbook, I’ve found it perfectly fine for what it was designed for: Web browsing, email, light image editing (I use The GIMP), and light to medium word processing and other office document work.

Mobile Devices

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MobileAppsToday/MobileDevicesToday Podcast #1

Michael Gartenberg (Jupitermedia VP & Editor of and I (I’m editor of recorded our first joint podcast. I posted it up yesterday. You can hear it using the embedded player above. I posted show-notes (of sorts 🙂 over on

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Work at home & on the move? Twitter is my Virtual Water Cooler

I’ve been a full-time blogger for 3 months now (check out my day job blog I’m pretty happy to be working alone and uninterrupted most of the time. But, it is nice to interact with real people now and then too. Although I used Twitter before making this job-lifestyle change, it has become invaluable as my virtual water cooler weather working at home or on the road (with netbook and smartphone(s) in tow).

I maintain a locked personal Twitter account to talk/tweet with people I actually know for this purpose. It was one of the smartest things I’ve done, I think. I also have a public Twitter account to mostly talk about my work and tweet with people I don’t know personally. You can find this public account at:

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T-Mobile G1 == Zune == Rodney Dangerfield?

Ha! I noticed Michael Gartenberg, who is my blog-neighbor MobileDevicesToday (I edit MobileAppsToday), asked…

Is the Zune the Rodney Dangerfield of technology?

Then, Roy Furchgott on The New York Times said…

Google Phone Is the New Zune

So, I guess…

T-Mobile G1 == Zune == Rodney Dangerfield

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Celio Redfly Makes More Sense Now: But Still Not Worth It

I was just reading a good review of the new Celio Redfly C8N terminal companion for Windows Mobile smartphones over on Brighthand…

Celio Redfly C8N Review

It looks like Celio listened to potential customers who told them their $500 price for the original model was way too high for a dumb terminal. The new C8N comes in at a more reasonable $299 (but still too high, IMHO). There’s also a smaller model for $229 (also too high). For $299 you get a dumb terminal that provides an 800×400 view into your Windows Mobile smartphone, a decent keyboard, and the ability (with an additional $20 cable) to watch videos from an iPod or Zune (or other media player).

If you spend another $40, you can get an Asus Eee PC 904 with a 1024×600 display, 1GB RAM, 160GB HD, and a 6-cell battery. It does not have Bluetooth. But, you can add one via a USB dongle very inexpensively or step up to another model like the Eee PC 1000H (what I use) for $479 and get a 10-inch display as well as Bluetooth. And, oh yes, it also has an SDHC card reader built in so I can read photos off my camera. And, wait, it has a 160GB hard drive so I can backup my photos while on the road. And, what’s this? 802.11n WiFi too? And since you can run Windows XP or Linux (or Mac OS X for that matter), I can use a real browser like Firefox instead of IE4 Mobile Minus for web browsing. And, yes, I can tether my Windows Mobile T-Mobile Dash smartphone to it either using Bluetooth or a USB cable.

It would make a lot more sense for Celio to become a software vendor that enables low-end netbooks like the Acer Aspire One ($329 for the flash storage-only, 3-cell battery model) to become Windows Mobile terminals. It would remove the all the issues surrounding hardware manufacturing and distribution and become a nimble firm with a use software product.

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HTC, Motorola, Palm Below Average in J.D. Powers Smartphone Satisfaction Survey

Apple, RIM (Blackberry), and Samsung are above the J.D. Powers industry average score for smartphone satisfaction…

J.D. Power: Apple’s iPhone top dog in customer satisfaction

…but Windows Mobile device manufacturers HTC, Motorola, and Palm are all below the average. Samsung also makes WiMo devices.

There are a couple of interesting findings reported in the J.D. Powers press release…

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: iPhone Manufacturer Apple Ranks Highest in Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction

– Top reason for choosing a smartphone brand: Internet capability (45%)
– 34% of smartphone users downloaded 3rd party software

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