Apple launched its disappointing and, arguably, flawed iPad and yet all of a sudden everyone is piling on the anti netbook bandwagon. The netbook’s days are numbered, claims an expert. The iPad is killing the netbook, says another.
It’s like a huge chunk of the IT industry decided to temporarily shelve their respective intellects and allow themselves to be swayed by Steve Jobs words. However, avid netbook users tend to think the iPad is less flexible and less functional than a netbook, and worse it comes with a long laundry list of missing features and compromises.
Multitasking: Of course, iPad can multi-task, a limited multi- tasking and reserved only for its native apps. It’s not a complete multi-tasking power for opening and switching between dozens of 3rd party applications. By multitasking, you can do a lot more in a single device. For example, with a typical $375 netbook (Intel Atom and WIndows XP Home), you can do your works with your word processing software while downloading a virus definition update and playing a song in the background. And after you finish your works, you can unwind by blasting some Nazis in the oldie-but-goodie Call of Duty 1. Throw in a 3rd-party video chat (oh no, the iPad doesn’t have a camera right?) while playing multiplayer games and we are already way beyond what even the most expensive iPad model can do.
Media support: After installing the necessary codecs, netbooks can support all media formats, from any conceivable sources. With a 10″ and 16:9 aspect ratio screen, you can enjoy HD-formatted videos in all its borderless glory. For those who hunger for more, they can bring new media contents into the netbook via a wide range of well-supported conduits: USB, gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi, media card reader, and so forth. With iPad, you have iTunes and well, that’s about it.
Connectivity: A typical netbook comes with bristles of connectivity options, USB, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and many more. In addition, even a cheap netbook is equipped with an ExpressCard slot and 8-in-1 media card reader. You can also get HSDPA connectivity easily by buying a 3G adapter. By contrast, Jobs’ new tablet is just a wireless-only device, and the absence of a built-in USB port or media card reader really hamstrings its users.
Mobility: Thanks to their compact size and weight, people can set netbooks down on nearly any surfaces, including their laps, and type away comfortably. You never need to worry about stabilizing it or propping it up while you are on a moving train, taxi, or bus. It is about as close to mobility flawlessness as you can experience. With iPad you are wasting one hand only for holding it. A few newer netbook models are now using touch-screen display, which improve its versatility (Windows-based netbook/tablet convertible Asus Eee PC T91 with touchscreen display is only $445 on Amazon).
In the long run, it’s doubtful that most netbook users will ditch their netbooks in favor of an iPad. For netbook fanatics, the new tablet is missing a lot of useful features and just a jumble of ill-conceived ergonomics design while offering netbook owners nothing in the way of versatility and real innovation; instead, it forces consumers to discard functionality and features in order to squeeze the whole thing into very restrictive confines.
It is actually possible that introduction of the iPad could boost netbook sales as consumers revisit the market for “more flexible” solutions and find that an ideal gadget had sit there all along between the traditional notebook and the smartphone.
Yes, it’s a netbook and Apple doesn’t have it.