That's why I was excited to hear the rumors that of its own, to debut in 2009. While other vendors scramble to keep up with the Joneses, is well-known for creating innovative products that shake up staid categories. The prospect of an inexpensive mobile computer that melds the netbook form factor with technologies and concepts from the iPhone is intriguing. Could it really happen?
The netbook market could certainly use some innovation. Asus, the company that defined the category, seems to be heading the opposite direction. First it introduced the which traded the older models' Lilliputian chassis for a more traditional laptop form factor -- and upped the price tag. Now comes news that the cost of the 1000 line will climb again, as the original 1000 series is due to be phased out in favor of Rather than innovating, Asus seems determined to back away from its original concept.
Not that the netbook category is likely to disappear completely. Sales have been solid enough that to compete with Intel's Atom. In the current economic downturn, however, analysts are predicting an that could bite the low end of the notebook market.
Netbooks typically ship with underpowered CPUs, cheap onboard graphics, and no optical drives, which makes them poor choices for multimedia. A casual home user looking for an all-purpose PC would be better served by a sale-priced traditional notebook.
But a netbook could be ideal for a business user who wants a light satellite system to take on the road, without lugging their entire, accumulated work history along with them. The question is, are businesses really likely to buy two computers for their road warriors in today's economic climate, no matter how cheap netbooks are?