Tactical Advice

Netbooks Gain Favor for Telework

The ultra-portable netbook platform offers an inexpensive alternative for companies that want to expand their telework programs.
This story appears in the September 2009 issue of BizTech Magazine.

As businesses look for ways to expand their mobile options for remote workers, netbooks have become a viable alternative as either a secondary computing device or as a substitute for full-size notebooks if the performance requirements for content creation are minimal.

Offered by manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, netbooks function somewhere between smartphones and more traditional notebook PCs, says Jeff Orr, senior analyst for mobile devices for ABI Research. Netbooks cost $300 to $500 — roughly half the price of a full notebook.

“Netbooks are designed for the type of user who does content consumption: People who need to be online to do e-mail and research,” says Helen Daniel, product manager for commercial notebooks for Hewlett-Packard. “If you have someone who is doing training, a netbook is ideal because it’s very lightweight and easy to carry.”

[For more on lighter, compacter notebooks, check out: what features ultrabooks have to offer.]

Although netbooks first sprang up as consumer products, manufacturers have developed models suited for enterprise deployment. Daniel notes that durability features should appeal to companies. For example, the HP Mini 2140 netbook sports the DriveGuard drive protection system and the DuraKeys finish that reduces wear on the keyboard. Other high-end features include a choice of operating system, a Gigabit Ethernet port and several wireless connectivity options.

“A netbook would absolutely be useful for telework,” says ABI’s Orr, who adds that the computing devices would also be appropriate for any group that must perform fieldwork.

Small Wonders

Netbooks offer similar processing power, hard drives, battery life and wireless connections. Here's how a few models stack up in form factor and price.

Model

Manufacturer

Dimension

Weight

CDW•G Price

Aspire One D150

Acer

10.2 x 7.3 x 1.3 inches

2.9 pounds

$329.99

Eee PC 1000HA

Asus

10.5 x 7.5 x 1.5 inches

3.2 pounds

$329.17

Mini 2140

Hewlett-Packard

10.3 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches

2.6 pounds

$429.99

IdeaPad S10-2 2957

Lenovo

10.2 x 7.6 x 1.8 inches

2.6 pounds

$474.99

Wind U100-451US

MSI

10.2 x 7.1 x 1.3 inches

2.3 pounds

$309.99

NC10

Samsung

10.3 x 7.3 x 1.2 inches

2.8 pounds

$418.99

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