Brad Linder’s liliputing reported last week that netbook sales were slowing, partly due to the rising tide of tablets and also because the lines are blurring between netbooks and more powerful but equally small thin and light laptops.
All of this may be true but I’ve evidence of my own that netbooks are still wildly popular.
Last weekend Shoppers Drug Mart — one of those big drug stores encroaching on supermarkets and department store chains — had a one-day sale featuring, among other things, an Acer Aspire One netbook for $250 CAD. I checked no less than 5 stores here in downtown Toronto, and none of them had any stock.
Granted, the deal was made more appealing by the availability of extra loyalty points (or a mark-down on the price if you used said points for purchase) and there wasn’t much stock shipped to locations in the first place, but that a clearly discontinued last-gen unit could sell out so quickly is a sign to me that netbooks aren’t going anywhere just yet.
As they are still limited in horsepower by the demands of Microsoft the critical piece of the puzzle for your netbook is the right Linux distribution. My Eee PC has never felt faster since I put MeeGo on it. But that’s far from the only choice:
- Jolicloud still gets my vote for the user who mostly wants the web, more so than proper offline applications;
- Easy Peasy combines the latest Linux kernel, the new Ubuntu release and all the video codecs you’ll ever need;
- There are at least two more netbook-optimized Linuxes in my testing queue — The new Kubuntu for netbooks with Plasmoids (?) and an entirely new distro called Peppermint, which I heard about on the Linux Outlaws.
Though I’ve got my eye on the slightly larger Lenovo x100e truth is my diminutive Eee PC 901 still works great — it’s the perfect size to carry around with me at home and abroad, and hasn’t let me down yet.
I’ll be making my case for netbooks against Apple’s iPad on this week’s episode of DyscultureD, recording tomorrow night at 9:30pm Eastern. If you want to join the fight you can listen and chat with us live, or leave a comment below.