Monday, February 23, 2009

Will Richardson on Netbooks and Cloud Computing

Weblogg-ed » The Netbook Effect
Great article by Clive Thompson in the new issue of Wired (the paper version, so no link to the text right now) about the ways in which netbooks are changing the laptop landscape. And, at the same time, cementing the idea of cloud computing in our lives. Estimates are that netbooks will hold 12 percent of the world’s entire laptop market next year, which is amazing when you think that the Eee PC is less than two years old. And their adoption says a lot about how we think about our computers these days.

As Thompson points out, 95 percent of what we do on computers can now be accomplished through the browser. I don’t need a huge hard drive or speedy fast processors as long as I have a solid, broadband connection to the Internet. (And even then I don’t need much; I’m writing this in a Google Doc while offline on a plane to Seattle.)

Netbooks are evidence that we now know what personal computers are for. Which is to say, a pretty small list of things that are conducted almost entirely online…Netbooks prove that the “cloud” is no longer just hype. It is now reasonable to design computers that oursource the difficult work to someone else. The cloud tail is wagging the hardware dog.

I’m looking at my almost two-year-old, dropped a dozen times, bent up MacBook Pro, thinking I’m going to need to replace it in the next few months and wondering should I go with a netbook. Better yet, should I go with like seven of them (or more) which is about many I could buy for the same cost as my Mac. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mac. And I really want to do more video work using iMovie this year. But it would be really nice not to lug this thing around everywhere in my travels.

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