Thursday, 4 November 2010

Tablets - End of the Road for Netbooks?

These days, it is impossible to ignore the importance of tablet PCs. Do you know why? Well, it is light to carry and you do not need to remove it when you are going through security checks in the airport! Besides, a tablet PC would usually hold more than a day's juice for anyone to be "connected" while on the go. How nice, isn't it?


If you were to take a look at today's tablet PCs, you would find that more and more companies are getting on the bandwagon to release compatible products (in this case, tablet PCs) which are more compatitive in its functions, not necessary in its price though. You would need to understand that tablet PC was not made popular until Apple released their Apple Ipad recently which caught the world by surprise. In fact, the Ipad concept is not new. If you Google around, you will know that there are numerous products which are similar to the Ipad but it was not made pupular.

The next thing you need to ask yourself is why Apple is so successful in marketing their Ipad? One thing for sure though - they are restrictive in allowing software developers in getting vital information about their Mac OS. Besides that, they are receiving tons of royalties when it comes to high developer fees for selling their apps on the Apple Store. If that is not bad enough, Apple does not share their technologies, not unless it is necessary. The Apple brand itself is a niche and I have to say that the Ipad is a wonderful product but short of the necessary add-ons like front facing camera like the upcoming Samsung Tablet with radio capabilities so that it will allow users to make and receive calls and text messages, just like a normal mobile phone. The question to ask yourself is whether you will be willing to fork out around £699 for a proper tablet PC with radio capabilities? Think about the price of the product when you consider that an average full time staff at a supermarket would only earn around £1400 after deductions in a month.

At this moment, I have nothing to compare the Apple Ipad with except for the HP Mini 110 which I am using at the moment. I can see why people would like to use the Ipad - It is light, 1Ghz cpu power and the apps are backward compatible with most of the Iphone/Ipod apps. Fantastic, don't you think so? It is more like flexibility when it comes to cross platform. Wonderful.

What about the netbooks then? Surely it is much better than a tablet, no?

Netbooks have come a long way. It started off with 7" running on a Celeron cpu. Later on Intel mass produced their first generation Atom cpu - N2xx series, then followed by the N4xx series (N450,N470) and  by the N4x5 series (e.g. N455) which features DDR3 memory controller. Presently, Intel is slowly releasing their first generation of dual core Atom for netbooks (e.g. D525). Don't get me wrong as prior to the release of the D5xx series dual core Atom cpus, Asus have managed to release the Asus 1201N which comes with a desktop dual core Atom (D330).

One criticism is that the cpu on the Asus 1201N draws significantly more power than traditional Atom cpus for netbooks. At the time of writing this article, Asus have quietly released their 1215N which feature a dual core Atom (D525) with 2GB DDR3 memory and an integrated Nvidia Ion 2 GPU. What a perfect combination! The damage from getting the Asus 1215N is that it will cost the consumer £400 if you want to buy one for yourself. On the other hand, it has a proper keyboard and you can load quite a lot of things on it (it comes with a 250GB hard drive) but it does not have an optical drive. Basically, it is just like a laptop without a DVD-RW writer. I don't mind not having a DVD-RW writer these days as I do have a laptop with me. It is old but it is still working perfectly on 8GB of system memory.

If you noticed, there are people who question the survival of netbooks. They do say that with the release of more tablets, the era of netbooks will finally come to an end. I think not. Tablets will only play a small role and I don't think I will get myself a tablet because it does not serve any purpose to me unless you are talking about following what people do in the drama series like "NCIS". In the movie, the Apple Ipad is being used extensively.

I have to say that netbooks are still surviving and it will remain strong. I might want to get myself a better netbook next time around. Perhaps it is good to give away my present netbook and take the opportunity to get a dual core netbook like the Asus 1215N!

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