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Waiting for the right netbooks

As the flood of Atom- (and now Via- and Nvidia-) powered netbooks hit the market (coverage of Computex this year shows that this is most definitely the next big thing), I'm no longer asking whether I want to equip teachers and classes with these little devices, but which netbook is right for educational settings.At roughly 2W of power consumption with an efficiency-optimized platform behind it and fairly snappy performance (up to 1.
christopher-dawson.jpg

As the flood of Atom- (and now Via- and Nvidia-) powered netbooks hit the market (coverage of Computex this year shows that this is most definitely the next big thing), I'm no longer asking whether I want to equip teachers and classes with these little devices, but which netbook is right for educational settings.

At roughly 2W of power consumption with an efficiency-optimized platform behind it and fairly snappy performance (up to 1.6GHz with Hyperthreading), Intel's Atom processor makes a really compelling argument for skipping the cost, weight, and comparative inefficiency of a full-sized laptop for a lot of educational deployments.

So which netbook will it be? I'm still waiting for the 3rd-generation Classmates based on Atom processors to become available via Intel or any OEM that picks up the reference design. Asus is cranking out new Eee's at the right price with screen sizes that should be livable for most students and teachers. HP's Mininote is slick, has a great keyboard, and is available with Linux or Vista Business (instead of XP Home like many of these devices), but is fairly steep pricewise. A new mini-Inspiron is expected from Dell today at Computex, as well.

Decisions, decisions...I guess we'll have to let the dust settle from Computex, but I'll certainly be holding on purchasing decisions until July. These little computers simply have too much potential for our market to pass up.

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