Because Netbooks first introduced at the end of 2007, you’d think the little notebooks would be running the cutting-edge, greatest, latest OS. But guess what? The most favored Netbook operating system is the venerable Windows XP (especially Windows XP Home), which was first came out in October 2001. In the past few years, Microsoft has tried its best to supplant the dated operating system, but has not had much success. Even though the company has ceased mainstream support for Windows XP, it will continue providing free security updates until 2014. Microsoft’s marketing problem is obvious, XP just works. It’s easy to use, predictable, reliable, supports all kinds of hardware programs and devices, and is as convenient as an old sweater. Six months after the release of Windows Vista, sixty-three percent of PCs connected to the web are still running Windows XP – compare that to a meager twenty-four percent for Windows Vista, with the remainder split up evenly between Mac and Linux. Windows 7 has a better chance to replace XP or even Vista, in the next few years. Aside from overall consumer popularity, Windows XP is well suited for underpowered Netbooks. Even a 1st generation Netbook with just 512 Kb of RAM and a 900 MHz CPU can run Windows XP and many Windows applications reasonably well. Netbooks with more RAM and a faster CPU are even better. Surely, aside from a dinkier screen, you should expect Windows XP to run on a Netbook just like it does on a normal desktop or laptop – and that means almost all the Windows programs work with acceptable stability.
At first, the fame of Linux in Netbooks took many by surprise – certainly, including Microsoft. When mini-laptops were first introduced, they exclusively ran lite flavors of Linux OS. Manufacturers provided instructions for putting in Windows XP if the user happened to own a spare copy, but a buyer could not purchase an off-the-shelf mini-laptop with the Microsoft OS installed.
Then all of a sudden, Windows XP Netbooks became available in many stores – for the equal price as Linux Netbooks. This was strange because Linux was free and did not need any manufacturer licensing fees, like Windows did. Some industry experts (and naturally, conspiracy theorists) thought Microsoft recognized a looming threat to its hegemony. The stories go that the Redmond executives started offering computer manufacturers some very attractive incentives and licensing deals if they sold Netbooks with Windows XP Home edition installed. And in just a few months, Windows XP Netbooks were outselling their Linux counterparts by a wide margin of 9 to 1. Some suggested Microsoft was only making about $15 from a Netbook that uses XP – just compare that to around $55 each time a notebook with Windows Vista is sold. Nobody knows what had happened, but even that’s true, it’s unlikely that Linux community will sue Microsoft.
Netbooks use a few sizes of small screens. Generally, the bigger the screen and the larger the resolution, the higher the netbook cost. Here is what you should expect in the way of displays size found in netbooks.
7-inch: Early netbooks featured dinky 7″ displays. It’s a pain to browse the Web with these tiny screens because the entire page can’t be displayed horizontally – it may force you to scroll the pages quite a bit. Additionally, the common resolution of the 7″ screens is limited to only 800 x 480. Netbooks with these displays have simply gone the way of the mammoth and are only found in the discounted and used markets.
9-inch: Netbook manufacturers quickly wised up that 7″ screens simply didn’t cut the mustard. Generally, from an engineering standpoint, it is possible to shoehorn a 9″ screen into a 7″ netbook chassis or use a slightly larger chassis. As a matter of fact, many 7″ screen netbooks use a plastic bezel around the display, which when you calculate the bezel, the screen size is roughly equal to 9″. Many 9″ screens use 1024 x 600 resolution. If you are looking for high portability, choose a 9-inch-screen model. The drawback is; you may have to endure the small keyboard. You should be aware that many netbook manufacturers tend to abandon 9″ models in favor of larger and more usable 10″ screen.
10-inch and above: When you put a 10″ screen in your favorite netbook, its chassis needs to be enlarged. Larger chassis means that you can have a bigger keyboard and more powerful battery. Netbooks with 10″ screens are pretty much common these days, although each model may use different maximum resolution – generally, the larger the resolution, the better. In spite of what a netbook manufacturer may advertise, many people consider a netbook with screen larger than 10″ is not a real netbook. Models touting 11″ and 12″ screens are closer to small laptops than netbooks because they’re giving up the light weight, compact size, and affordable price tag.
Actually, most netbook screens marketed as 9″ are actually 8.9″, while, a 10″ screen can actually be 10” to 10.5″, based on manufacturer specifications. Many netbooks use glossy screens (reflective surface). Some models use matte screens, which don’t reflect light. A research suggests that high-gloss displays may cause ergonomic problems because users are forced to adopt awkward postures to avoid reflections and glare typically not present when using matte screens.
Regardless of your current credit or financial situation, there are many financing alternatives for purchasing a netbook. These small, handy mini-laptops are becoming more popular among students, for those who travel frequently for business matters and others who would like to have quick access to the word processors or internet while being away from their desktops at home. Netbooks are typically a fraction of the cost of traditional notebooks, and a lot of credit options mean that you may get a netbook for $20 or less a month. If you travel often, tired of lugging those heavy laptops and want to get higher productivity consider buying a netbook for increased convenience and value.
Some netbook manufacturers offer credit cards or preferred customer clubs that will give you the financing you need. Generally, the best way to capitalize on these manufacturer-sponsored financing options is by directly visiting their websites. It is crucial to remember that most of those offers do require buyers to go through some sort of an application process; it may take at least ten days for approval. For people who don’t mind the wait, and have adequate credit score to qualify, those offers may be a good way to find a low or no interest credit line.
Many people choose credit card for netbook financing. Though some may not think charging a product is a true financing, credit card can be the best route to obtain an affordable minimum monthly payment at low interest rate. It is appropriate for people who already have low interest credit cards. If a credit card is charging 15% or higher, finding other financing options is usually a better idea. Credit cards may be useful when buying a netbook that doesn’t come with a warranty. In a few cases, the credit card provider will cover major transaction for more than a year.
If you will be choosing your netbook from internet or through a big electronics retailer, it’s possible that the seller will agree to help you get the financing you need to make a quick purchase. Some manufacturer websites offer options for monthly payment plan. If a manufacturer is partnered with a short-term creditor, qualifying for financing can be as simple as providing a proof of employment.