Was having lunch with Intel’s Country Manager a couple of days ago when he asked me something along this lines, “How would you extend the netbook?“. Surely, most would say faster CPU or bigger storage but the fact is, all other PCs are going that way.
But, if you looked at the newest line of netbooks out there, they already serve their best purpose — cheap, lightweight and usable computing devices.
Pumping the specs more would just add to the size, weight and price of the netbooks and if you really wanted bigger screens and keyboards or a faster processor, might as well go for the regular laptops running the Core 2 Duo processors or the newer Centrino 2.
Besides, I don’t think OEM will eventually upgrade their netbooks to the level of the regular notebooks for fear that it will eat their own market share and margins. For example, I tried bumping my MSI Wind to 3GB of RAM by adding an extra 2GB stick but it would not work (or even boot). Looks like the BIOS caps it at 2GB. My Compaq-Presario b1200 however works just fine with 4GB of RAM.
However, there’s still room for improvement:
- Everybody’s on the same plane that smaller can be cheaper. So, how about lighter and thinner? Yes, 1kg is already light but if they can drop that to 0.5kg or 1lb, they’ve got another winner. Or how about 0.7 inch thin like the MacBook Air?
- Extend externally. They don’t have to extend it and worry about cramming the parts inside the small chassis. They can always extend from the outside. See examples below.
- External DVD drive. It doesn’t even have to be a RW drive. Just a cheap and slim external DVD drive I can optionally hook via the USB port from time to time whenever I need it. Samsung actually has one (DVD-RW) and they’ve been selling for about Php4,500. If they can also do just a plain external DVD and sell it for Php2,000 or less, I’m sure everyone will grab one along with their new netbooks.
- Extended batteries. Yes, how about an option to get an 8-cell to 12-cell battery for those heavy travelers? An extra pound of weight for an additional 10 to 15 hours of battery life is a good trade-off IMO.
- Car harness. This is a little odd, I know if if those DVD players for cars cost between Php18k to 25k, why not just use your netbook instead (the Gigabyte netbook fits perfectly well)?
- FM Transmitter. They have it on some phones (like the Nokia N78) so why not on netbooks? Most of them have lousy speakers but if you can stream audio/sound to your car stereo or some other stereo FM receiver, that would be cool.
Of course, the 3G/HSDPA and WiMax slots are already coming in the next cycle as well as possible options for bigger capacity flash drives but we already know about that.
Ultimately, most of the netbooks will have almost the same internal specs in them and the only differentiating factors would be the design and finish.
I’d like to throw the question to my readers as well — how would you extend the netbook?