Dave Winer argues no, that “netbooks” are something new. I do agree that what people are calling netbooks are more than just inexpensive — they’re small and lightweight. I think my disagreement is merely semantic, though.
The innovation isn’t that it’s a new product category. The innovation is that people are now willing to make trade-offs against performance. For the entire history of the PC industry, computers have been too slow, so trade-offs were made in favor of faster CPUs: higher prices and heavier laptops. But today, for many common tasks, the type of CPU you get when you build a $400 lightweight laptop is fast enough. That’s the breakthrough.
★ Thursday, 18 December 2008