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8-hour battery life
We're almost there with some of the bigger battery packs, if you don't mind typing slowly in the dark. But as the netbook market grows and evolves away from using older chip designs, some of the extremely effective power management in newer products will kick in. And barely a day goes by without someone in a white coat announcing a major breakthrough in lithium ion cell construction. Most of those won't make it, but enough will.
Why, exactly, does a low-power design with all its data in flash memory have to ever really turn off? No, we don't know either. The architectural divisions in PC design — where a separate BIOS chip runs through a whole set of pointless tests before letting the processor get going on an operating system that loads off a slow hard disk before firing up the user environment — are just a hangover. Bung everything in the same flash memory, have a decent suspend mode, build your OS like Splashtop so it gets going quickly when you do have to start from scratch, and forget you ever had to wait three minutes to get a browser up.
Another daft idea, right? A netbook is not a phone, after all. But now that companies like Apple — OK, just Apple, so far — have reignited the mobile applications market, there's money in making neat little programs that you want to carry around with you all the time. Who wouldn't want to make more money by selling them on more platforms? And since a netbook running a phone emulator won't cannibalise any actual mobile phone sales, you just ship an emulator for your mobile platform and gain another revenue source with minimal investment and less risk. Oh, and if you've got an ARM chip in there anyway, performance will be just swell.