Friday, December 19, 2008

Netbooks aren't new

...but they're catching on.

Drawing from 1972.

Gruber links to Dave Winer, both responding to the question, "Are netbooks something new?"

I would say no. Netbooks are just a new word for an old concept. As my boss pointed out a couple of weeks ago, Alan Kay invented the concept of a dynabook in 1968. This is, on a very basic level, a small computer that is quick enough to run what you want it to run. The laptop must have been a response to this concept, and those little Mac Powerbooks, and the PC tablet. The iPhone is perhaps the most advanced of any of these, but we won't count it since it is pocket-sized and there is no keyboard (other than the touch screen). Something that is small, light, has decent memory (if you can find that - Gruber makes a fair point against Vista on such a small machine), and costs $400 to $600, you might have something marketable.

Is this "the first Dynabook-like computer good enough to criticize?" No, but it'll take some heat anyway.

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