Netbooks: a challenge to laptops?


A new category of portable PCs has emerged — call it the Netbook, Nettop, mobile Internet devices (MIDs), ultralow-cost PC.

Whatever term you choose, Asus appears to be leading the pack with its [Eee PC](, a low-cost 9-inch computer selling for around $250 and featuring Intel’s (NASDAQ: INTC) [Atom microprocessor]( Asus announced its new line of low-cost, portable models at the [Computex trade show]( in Taipei, Taiwan.

What could make these PCs work is that they’re cheap and potentially effective in satisfying the needs of small businesses starting out and users in developing countries as they learn how to make use of the Internet.

The unit comes with a solid-state hard drive, but many users will make use of the Web to store files and use online word processing and spreadsheet applications.

Asus says the Eee has a battery life of close to 8 hours, almost four times that of my year-old HP Pavilion laptop.

Will Netbooks replace laptops or notebooks as we know them today? Hard to tell, but these compact, portable systems are likely to sell.

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