You’ve probably heard of netbooks. If not, it’s likely that you’re not very interested in technology or gadgets and you can safely stop reading this entry now. Or you can click the link above, read the Wikipedia article, and come back here.

Great idea.

Netbooks are very similar to cell phones in the way that no one really needs them, but people are still crazy about them anyway. Of course, the number of netbooks per capita is not the same as for cell phones, but every dedicated nerd has a netbook laying around. And by that I literary mean “laying around”, because there’s a good chance it’s not being used. The netbook is a bit like the Nintendo Wii that way.

You see, there’s no really good reasons to buy a netbook as opposed to, say, a normal laptop. When I tried to come up with good reasons to burn through $400 for one, I came up with the following:

  • It’s smaller.

And that’s about it. That said, it’s a good thing if you need something small to carry around with you, but I don’t really feel that I can justify buying something just because it’s small. By that logic, I should have a lot of very tiny things in my apartment, but I don’t. Besides, I already have a MacBook Pro that I can bring with me if I desperately need a computer when I’m on the move.

My problem, however, is that I really, really want a netbook. And I have no idea why. This gives me quite the challenge, because I feel I need some very good reasons to buy one – after all, we are talking about a lot of money. So, after some brain storming, a little help from my friends and colleagues, the following (very good) reasons to buy a netbook are on the table:

  • It’s smaller (than a laptop). Yes, I already knew that, but thanks anyway.
  • The battery life can be significantly better than a laptop. Dell is bragging that it’s possible to run one of their E-series laptops for 19 hours on battery power, but that requires you to attach so many batteries it’ll probably become an explosive hazard. The best battery life I’ve seen so far on a netbook is 9.5 hours on the Asus Eee PC 1000HE, and that’s quite good, even though actual battery life is probably somewhat shorter than the 9.5 hours they advertise.
  • It can be great as a backup device for pictures when I’m out travelling. Most netbooks have a storage card reader built in, but I’ve not seen any with a Compact Flash reader, the storage cards used by my Canon. But that can be solved by a CF USB reader. All-in-all, this would have been a good reason to buy one if I were taking a lot of pictures at remote locations. Which I’m not, unfortunately.
  • The netbook can be used to play around with new operating systems, like Windows 7 and different Linux distributions. But I’m already using VirtualBox for that on my Mac.
  • If I buy one with a 3G module, I can be online wherever U go (given that coverage is available, of course). A good idea in theory, but only in theory. Since I’m now paying my own phone bill again, I’ve completely stopped using mobile internet. It’s so much more expensive than free Wi-Fi hotpots, which you’ll find almost everywhere if you look hard enough.
  • All right, so what about Wi-Fi? Every netbook has built in Wi-Fi, I’ll be online everywhere with an internet hotspot. I’ve already got my iPhone for that…
  • But what if I was an author? Then I could take my work with me everywhere I thought I’d find inspiration. I could spend hours in coffee shops, drinking Latte, while working on my short stories, novels and movie scripts.

That’s just fucking brilliant! Tomorrow I’m getting a netbook and starting my new life as an author. Thank you, vivid imagination!