What’s the NeXtbook?

Netbook’s popularity is no longer the domain of geeks, who coveted them in droves, as is evident from the numbers flying off the shelves everywhere, especially at convenient places like Costco, Best Buy and Future Shop where they are not only embraced for being lightweight and portable (fitting in my smaller purse is an option now) but a big key to these units is that their affordable.
As a student this is a savvy consumer product and I couldn’t wait to see what the next generation might look like and when they’ll be available.
It seems these new darlings of both the travelling business person and the student are outselling traditional laptops. For what I would need in the classroom this is hands down preferable to my 15-inch laptop slab of concrete that hangs perilously over the tea cup sized table in my college classes.
As a budding entrepreneur the unit’s portability and lightweight format works well for my business and travel needs. This is certainly the case in my own startup where a lot rides on getting out to trade shows.
This means travelling with something that I have to lug around to blog, edit video and take photos with. As I research people, products and attend events I also have to keep up with homework and submit articles and tweets from often less than convenient places like crowded lounges, press rooms, public transit and cars. I need to carefully weigh the pros and cons to decide what mix will best suit my particular needs. Obviously performance will be a factor and large spreadsheets would not be a product for this type of scenario.
My first stop will be Lenovo where their hybrid notebook will be on display. The playing field in these devices will most likely prove to be a challenge for consumers. CES will showcase this all under one roof. Under Lenovo's roof was the Idea U1 hybrid portable PC. It will be out in the early second half of 2010. It’s neither a laptop, netbook or notebook but it certainly is a whole lot more. It's very lightweight and may push the business user (not so fast on the consumer, in my opinion) to drop down the credit card for what will be even a far more exciting experience.
Manufacturers like Lenovo propose that units like the Ideapad would be the ideal educational tool because it offers the added ability for online research, sharing ideas and for conversation through email, social networking and their webcam. You’d also get the basic functionality for word processing and light multimedia capabilities. Being able to video conference allows for an even better reach to other teachers the world over.
And finally we can view photos or listen to music. So now we’re back to one device (another point for environmentalists) but until it allows for viewing like an e-reader and can match the price, which it won’t, it becomes the choice of the student and the convenience for our materialistic generation(s), but the e-reader may just be the saviour of a growing poverty stricken world hungry to learn just a little of what we students take way too much for granted.
This blog was written by Genevieve L’Esperance, a 17-year visiting CES for the first time. Make sure to check out her blogs throughout this week.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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