Ode (dirge?) to Netbooks Part 2
6. Bigger hard drive space - Tablets are great for reading and for watching videos, but even with expandable memory, they can't top the standard 500GB of HDD installed on a netbook. Call me traditional, but I don't like depending on the cloud, what's with problems with security and the limitations of wireless data transfer. Plus, I can't afford a data plan anyway. There's something about an old-fashioned HDD that is just satisfying (and cheap). I wouldn't invest on an SSD to soup up my netbook, but no one will stop you if you want to.
7. Perfect for Linux, coding, writing, travelling, and as a crash system - Linux works perfectly on a netbook. It's great for writing and programming, and just comfortable enough for an airplane tray while riding coach (much less a Greyhound bus). 14" and 15" are just too unwieldy while on the go. Plus, a netbook is a perfect machine for running and testing different applications, platforms, and Linux distributions, keeping you busy and productive as you web-swing across continents.
8. Netbooks are surprisingly tough and even if they aren't, it doesn't matter. I've had my netbook for close to 4 years now and I've traveled to various places toting this machine around. I've used it for work and during vacations to places where a full-size laptop just wasn't practical. The battery is still going. It runs openSUSE 12.1 KDE like it was designed for it, and it has never had any hardware issues. And knock on wood, even if something did happen to the EEEPC, the system has provided a great return for its cheap price. A tablet, on the other hand, will leave you crying if it fell off a table or got smashed to bits - bye bye $350++. Considering how much a high-end iPad or ASUS Transformer costs, penny-pinchers like me would hesitate to bring it around daily. (Yeah, I know about Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire but still . . . )
9. You have control. iOS and Android ICS are great operating systems for tablets, but while iOS is a closed system, Android isn't an operating system you don't really want to fiddle around with too much. There are plenty of web sites around that can guide you in customizing and working with Android like a desktop OS, but would you want to? Over the years, I've installed Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva, Windows 7, and Lubuntu and performed administrative tasks to customize the OS to my needs on the netbook. The luxury, as of now anyway, isn't completely available to casual users of smartphones and tablets yet. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't take much to set up Fedora or openSUSE on any machine.
9. It's a real computer. With great respect to iOS and Android, my Linux-powered EEEPC can serve as a desktop system, a server, and a portable entertainment device. Sure, I look like a doofus in Starbucks, with everyone toting an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab, but pound for pound, my netbook can perform as well as any of their machines. Plus, years of writing (blogs or otherwise) with a keyboard, even one as small as the 1000H's, is a hard habit to break.
I used to be one of those people who don't want having a lot of devices, but I also don't want chucking things to one side just because their "obsolete" by today's standards. Machines are only obsolete if the user is not able to use them productively and right now my ASUS EEEPC 1000H is still one hell of a workhorse. If and when netbooks are discontinued from the market (and they will be soon), they deserve a bow and applause for their success - no matter what pundits and ignorant "industry experts" say.