Netbooks are a category of small, lightweight and inexpensive laptop computers .
At their inception in late 2007 as smaller notebooks optimized for low weight and low cost – netbooks omitted certain features (ex. optical drive), featured smaller screens and keyboards, and offered reduced computing power when compared to a full-sized laptop .by mid-2009, some wireless data carriers began to offer netbooks to users “free of charge”, with an extended service contract purchase .
In March 1997, Apple Computer introduced the eMate 3000 as a subcompact laptop that was a cross between the Apple Newton PDA and a conventional laptop computer. The eMate was discontinued, along with all other Newton devices, in 1998 with the return of Steve Jobs .
The generic use of the term “netbook”, however, began in 2007 when Asus unveiled the Asus Eee PC . Originally designed for emerging markets, the 23 × 17 cm (9.1 × 6.7 in) device weighed about 0.9 kg (2 lb) and featured a 7 in (18 cm) display, a keyboard approximately 85% the size of a normal keyboard and a custom version of Linux with a simplified user interface geared towards netbook use . In early 2011 the New York Times said netbook sales had begun to decline, due in part to the arrival of tablet computers .
As of January 2009, over 90% of netbooks in the United States are estimated to ship with Windows XP, which Microsoft was later estimated to sell ranging from US$15 to US$35 per netbook . Microsoft has extended the availability of Windows XP for ultra-low cost personal computers from June 2008 until June 2010 .
As of November 2009, customized Linux distributions are estimated to ship on 32% of netbooks worldwide, making it the second most popular operating system after Windows. As Linux systems normally install software from an Internet software repository , they do not need an optical drive to install software .
Netbooks have sparked the development of several Linux variants or completely new distributions, which are optimized for small screen use and the limited processing power of the Atom or ARM processors which typically power netbooks. Examples include Ubuntu Netbook Edition , Joli OS , MeeGo* and others . Both Joli OS and MeeGo purport to be “social oriented” or social networking operating systems rather than traditional “office work production” operating systems (*Joli OS and MeeGo are based on Linux ) .
the next article i’ll talk about how to install the OS on your PC or laptop …