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Are Netbooks for Business?



Netbooks are turning the mobile computing world upside down. With their low price and diminutive size, most everyone is doing a double-take when looking at what their next computer should be. Businesses on a tight budget are no different, and as I can attest to with my own clients, netbooks are getting some serious attention.

TabletKiosk’s Gail Levy has a great article on what business people should consider before taking the leap in to the sea of netbooks. For example, all netbooks come with Windows XP Home, which don’t allow for a domain logon. TabletKiosk’s tablet pcs, though, come with XP Pro or Vista Business which do allow a computer to be joined to a domain. True, it doesn’t take much effort to throw a new operating system on the netbook, but a couple hundred dollars here and there spread over hundreds of installations starts to add up and slowly chip away at those once highly sought after cost savings. Then a business ends up with a computer that really doesn’t fit their needs and ended up costing close what they actually wanted in the first place.

What other issues should businesses take into account as they give netbooks some consideration?



  1. Xavier

    05/28/2009 at 12:31 pm

    I think durability is key for business users. The vast majority of netbooks are consumer-grade plastic. This is fine for home users, but businesses need to pass along machines in like-new condition as employees leave/arrive.

    Customization beyond the OS is also important- one size does not fit all and businesses need to be able to have some level of choice in components/options.

    I’m a fan of the HP Mini 2140, which is built specifically for businesses and shares a lot of its ID w/the Elitebook line (2730p).

    As you pointed out, all of this costs extra $$$ and sort of defeats the cost savings of going with a netbook vs. a 12″ business notebook.

  2. GoodThings2Life

    05/28/2009 at 4:51 pm

    Indeed, Xavier, when I plan what models to get for people at work, I don’t look for the cheapest most portable, I look for the most durable and most functional (and it just happens that sometimes portability is a major functional requirement).

    That’s why I’ve standardized now on the HP Elitebook 2730p Tablets as my portable-yet-functional system at work for my mobile users, and a standard desktop system for my non-portable users.

    I don’t see myself buying a netbook for any reason within a business environment… UNLESS… Office 2010 Web Edition is as nifty as is rumored. In that case alone, I would very likely consider replacing my desktop fleet with an armada of netbooks that can be configured as “thin clients” for some of my less power-hungry users. It would be much more cost-effective to have them use a light-weight system that connects to a web interface, especially if I use Windows 7’s RemoteApps feature to use Windows Server 2008 R2’s hosted terminal apps functionality.

  3. Gordon Cahill

    05/28/2009 at 5:23 pm

    Great article?? That was just a weak sales pitch. I hope you guys got paid for the advertising you just did.

    Look. There are lots of reasons that quality can be better value than cheap, but XP home is not one of them. Win7 is effectively free at the moment (till next year). There’s also Linux and an upgrade to Xp Pro is cheap relative to what a Tabet Kiosk unit costs. Wireless N? Netbooks are getting this now. In a year they’ll all have it.

    Companies ARE using netbooks. It’s a reality that other companies need to accept. There’s already HP with the 2133/2140 and other will follow. What they need to do is leverage that knowledge to improve their own market presence. UMPC’s failed and netboks succeeded. Tablet Kiosk needs to use the netbook awareness to promote their own product, before the other touch screen netbooks swamp it and kill it off, like they did to OQO. What they need is an “Apple” marketing mentality. move into an existing space and change the rules, just like Apple did in music players and phones. Apple have proven over and over you can make a more expensive item and still compete with the cheap stuff. Tablet Kiosk need to learn that rather than being negative about a product that every one else has accepted as positive.


  4. Rob Bushway

    05/28/2009 at 5:27 pm

    true, Gail is a marketer for TK, and sure, the article had its’ own marketing spin on it. That’s what marketing people do. However, she raised good points that businesses need to account for when looking at netbooks, thus the reason we pointed folks to it.

  5. sbtablet

    05/29/2009 at 8:14 am

    If I were a business owner, I would hesitate to give my workers anything with less than a standard size keyboard for regular, daily use. I think it would leave me open to worker’s comp issues over carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.

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