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So, Let’s Decide This Netbook Naming Thing



netbookquestionmark OK, we’ve got a rare opportunity coming up here to solve one of the deepest, most profound, most critical, most divisive, most contentious, (and if you can’t read the previous list of as hyperbole and irony then move on) issues facing the mobile computing world today.

First the issue: What are we going to call Netbooks? We’ve chronicled the legal kookiness brought about by Psion Teklogix’s attempts to protect their trademark (some cash attempts to cash in). Some see this as a big deal, some as just a kerfluffle. James Kendrick says we should all just start using another name and I largely agree. Although I think this cat is well out of the bag, the horse has left the barn, the dog has long since ceased barking, or pick whatever animal metaphor you want to use to describe the fact that the term Netbook is already well entrenched.

So, here’s the opportunity. Somewhere between the Nevada desert and the Las Vegas strip we’ll see most of the mobile bloggeratti gathering beginning tomorrow at CES 2009. Many of them will be hanging out at CtrStg. Many also will be gathering for the annual Tablet PC and Touch Community Meetup, also to be held at CtrStg. So, here’s my thoughts, take them or leave them.

I’m sure we’ll all be talking about this issue with each other, vendors, OEMs, and the like in the immediate days ahead. So, as we gather on Saturday, January 10, 2009, let’s poll those in attendance and those who want to contribute to the discussion virtually, and walk away (or is that stagger away) from CES 2009 with a term we’ll all use going forward. Some may see this as nonsense. Fine. Don’t participate. But for those who will be present it gives us a shot to figure out what we are all going to code in as an ActiveWord to replace Netbook in the days, weeks, months, and years, ahead. Or at least until the next lawsuit comes along.

So, if you are not heading to Vegas and you want to participate, leave a comment here and let us know what your preference is for renaming Netbooks. We’ll take a look at them at the Meetup and see what you’re saying. If the WiFi is working we’ll try to do some polling as well. There’s no guarantee that  a community as diverse as this one is will come up with any kind of consensus, but, hey, what do we have to loose?



  1. Steve Ingraham

    01/05/2009 at 10:58 am

    I have already changed the name of my blog to “Cloudy Days and N’tbook nights” and n’tbook (pronounced pretty much the same, with maybe a hint of a click) is what I am (playfully) recommending.

  2. Eric

    01/05/2009 at 11:00 am

    I’m going to chime in with SLPC, which stands for small laptop pc. Simple, tells the truth, and slides off the tongue.

  3. Nate

    01/05/2009 at 11:23 am

    I’ve never been too comfortable with the “netbook” name. Unfortunately, I think it’s here to stay.

    Psion can file all the lawsuits they want. It may change some wording on a few websites, but it’s not going to stop the momentum of the name.

  4. Xavier

    01/05/2009 at 12:13 pm

    The lines are going to blur between what a netbook and notebook is in 2009 and any attempt to come up with a firm name is going to be even harder.

  5. Fredrik

    01/05/2009 at 12:14 pm

    Lightbook or Notebook Light :)

  6. Gavin Miller

    01/05/2009 at 1:11 pm

    Not Notebook? :-)

  7. Jeremy Gray

    01/05/2009 at 1:22 pm

    They can file all the lawsuits they want but the term “netbook” has long-since joined the ranks of “jello”, “popsicle”, “band-aid”, “xerox”, and a host of others for which lawsuits can be attempted but which will, in all but the smallest percentage, fail.

    In fact, this is one of those moments where you shouldn’t be trying to get a bunch of people together to select a new name, you should be getting a bunch of people to use the term “netbook” _even more than before_, so as the drive colloquial usage forward as quickly as possible. The more commonly it used the smaller the percentage of successful suits there will be.

  8. joe

    01/05/2009 at 1:36 pm

    I’ve always preferred “subnotebook” over “netbook”, but for whatever reason the latter seemed to take better. “Netbook” also implies an internet only device, while “subnotebook” (to me at least) comes off as a fully featured computer, just smaller than your usual notebook (which is where I think the market is headed for this particular form factor).

  9. Eric C Rusch Jr

    01/05/2009 at 1:45 pm

    First we would need to define what a netbook is before we can name it. What are the qualifications? Is it only screen size, or does power/storage and price factor in? What do we do when the lines blur across these categories. We have tiny systems with big specs and a big price, we have large systems with low power and low price, and finally there are the little systems, with little power, and little prices. Are the Eee pc and OQO both netbooks?
    When you have a 10in and 5in, which one is the netbook? What about two 10in systems side by side, one with an atom processor, the other with a core 2 duo?

    Maybe they should all just be called notebooks or laptops, just with varying features.

  10. Chuck

    01/05/2009 at 2:59 pm

    I’ll vote for UMNB – Ultra Mobile NoteBook

  11. Gordon Cahill

    01/05/2009 at 3:46 pm

    let’s just call them “Brian”. It’s as good a name as any. :-)

    Seriously though.. I like Mininote. HP never really used it. I don’t thinl they’d mind.


  12. GoodThings2Life

    01/05/2009 at 6:07 pm

    I’m going to keep calling them Netbooks and will encourage others to do so too just to spite money-grubbing morons like Psion. Hey, if you want to make money on your Netbook patent, here’s an idea… try making and selling more of them and do it better than the other guys.

    THEN you can cry about your [mostly] unused patent.

  13. GoodThings2Life

    01/05/2009 at 6:08 pm

    PS– all the hoopla over the name ALMOST makes me want one, lol.

  14. Joel

    01/06/2009 at 12:36 am

    Disposable Computers?

  15. Auriette

    01/06/2009 at 1:06 pm

    How about one of these: webbook, nettaché, smartbook, or bittybook. Okay, that last one is just overly cutesy, but I think it has a ring to it.

  16. Thor Sadler

    01/06/2009 at 5:23 pm

    Let’s see –
    iBook? Taken.
    GoBook? Taken.
    TrekBook? Available.

    Why “TrekBook”? Because the formerly called “netbooks” are the most mobile of all laptop form factors with enough power and features to be a viable for us “road warriors”.

    Besides…TrekBook sounds kewl.


  17. Ben

    01/06/2009 at 7:23 pm

    I vote for “laptop,” since that’s what they are–small laptops. They sit on top of your lap (or desk, but calling them desktops would be really confusing). They don’t sit “on the net” because they aren’t really being used for cloud computing by most people.

  18. miguelv

    01/06/2009 at 8:25 pm

    i for one wish for them to be called microbooks, i mean, considering they are small and all.

  19. miguelv

    01/06/2009 at 8:28 pm

    i just thought of another one how about webbook

  20. Valeria Trish

    01/18/2009 at 10:43 pm


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