Netbooks used to rule the lightweight laptop market, but handheld devices have replaced these compact notebooks. Despite the success of these netbooks, they were forotten a decade later by users who prefer to use even smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets. However, even after these years, the netbook remains an interesting concept with a larger influence.

The netbook is a lightweight and portable laptop designed for web browsing and casual home office tasks. Perfect to use in the office and wherever you need to work. With an efficient processor, good battery life and full-featured operating system, these laptops offer a mobile computing experience.

Minimise the price, size and weight

As a lightweight computer, the netbook takes steps to minimise the size of the laptop and weight. The screens were limited to a resolution of 10.1 or 11 inches. The cost price was also kept to a price around 250 euros. Ideal for students and employees.

However, the netbook missed the required performance for some of its tasks. In the previous generations of netbooks, the processors were limited to single core or dual core models. Even though they were equipped with enough processing power for basic tasks, they missed the additional cores for professional use. For most users, a traditional laptop or desktop remained the better choice.

Hardware limitations and more advanced operating systems

Most netbooks were equipped with 1 GB of system memory. Compared to modern systems, these limited numbers are too little to run an entire operating system, yet these netbooks could handle a Windows XP installation.

Seen the more recent netbooks were shipped with a version of the Windows 7 operating system and some small upgrades to 1.5 or 2 GB of internal system memory, these devices were not ideal for multitaskers and most users noticed serious slowdowns in hardware limited tasks. Windows 7 is a more advanced operating system and too hard on the hardware of these little machines.

A competitor in the low-end laptop segment

Nowadays, it is hard to find a compact and lightweight laptop comparable to the netbooks of the last decade. It seems as if the netbook has disappeared from the low-budget market segment. However, we do see remnants of this small form factor within different categories of devices.

Chromebooks are similar to netbooks in terms of form and low-end internal hardware. The processors are power efficient and the system memory is limited, not to speak about the internal storage. These Chromebooks are also intended for web browsing and basic tasks, or office work.

Netbooks and Chromebooks are comparable, but the Chromebooks know how to set them apart from the traditional netbooks.

Cloud-based applications and tasks

The Chromebooks feature a lightweight operating system designed to run on less powerful devices. The operating system uses cloud-based applications. Seen the focus on internet and network-based software in current households and offices, these devices target a different market.

The internal storage of Chromebooks is limited, but most users will store their documents and files in the cloud. You can even use browser-based apps such as Google Drive and Google Docs to execute basic tasks for school or work in the cloud. It is clear, the Chromebooks are a good alternative at the bottom-end of the laptop market.

Compact alternatives for professionals

The netbook may have disappeared, however the netbook trend is still present in other market segments. The small form factor remains ideal for users who travel and have to work on different locations. This target audience looks for a compact desktop computer alternative.

Even more brands offer portable devices with a lightweight design, but they are equipped with more powerful components to meet the requirements of their users. These devices are known as ultrabooks and often equipped with larger and more user-orientated 13 or 14 inch screens. These ultrabooks remain as portible as the netbooks, but are a better alternative for their intended userbase.

An ever-changing market

The laptop market, similar to other markets in the world of computers, is ever changing. After a short success the netbooks have almost disappeared from the market, however the trend has influenced other segments within the laptop market. You better wait for the next trend to disrupt the computer market.

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Disclaimer. This post contains copyrighted images from the Acer Aspire One D255, a netbook developed and produced by Acer. The fair use of copyrighted works for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting or research is not considered as an infringement of copyright.

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