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The Netbook Conspiracy: Intel and Microsoft Collude to Keep Netbooks Crappy

Illustration for article titled The Netbook Conspiracy: Intel and Microsoft Collude to Keep Netbooks Crappy

Remember those crappy specs that define a netbook in Microsoft's eyes? Apparently, Intel is just as much to blame.


A hard limit on what exactly constitutes a netbook was somewhat inevitable with the arrival of Windows 7 anyway, given the position Microsoft finds itself in: Home Premium runs just fine on netbooks, but computer makers aren't going to want to pay full licensing fees for a low-cost, low-margin computer, and Microsoft charging different prices for the same bits based on the hardware it's installed on would open up a Pandora's Box so horrible not even Demon Ballmer could close it.


The boundaries give Intel even more breathing room against Via's Nano play for the 11-12 inch space and Nvidia's Ion, which is finally showing up in more than generic plastic boxes for testing. It also lets them maintain cleaner stratifications between the emerging thinner, nicer side of netbooks and the new sorta thin, sorta light, sorta cheap notebooks coming down the pipe.

At the same time, though, you have to wonder if this instinct to keep netbooks inside this very tiny, very hard little box is exactly what's going to make them extinct within a couple years. You know, besides that Apple tabletmajig. [The Inquirer]


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The NC10-A2 is the current precursor to what ion based laptops can really do. With a atom processor and a 9300m it isnt exactly blazing fast, but from most accounts it plays current games reasonably well and old games just fine. The only problem with it is its price. At $700 you're edging into budget notebook category, and with the likes of the studio xps 13 dropping under $900 I dont think there's much of a choice between a souped up NC10 and a proper portable 13" notebook. Hint... the notebook wins. When I pay $250 for a netbook I dont expect miracles, but if I pay $700+ it better damn well work like a proper notebook. My only complaint about the current segment of netbooks is that web content (hulu, youtube HD, netflix) just doesnt work on them well enough to be enjoyable. If Ion can fix just that I think many people will be very happy with their "crippled" netbooks.