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Netbooks: a viable low cost alternative for Small Businesses

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During CES, there was a lot of buzz around Netbooks.  Much of the conversations about these highly portable, newish devices are around personal use, but how might a small business benefit from a netbook?

According to Ramon Ray of SmallBizTechnology.com, in 2009, Netbooks will be the ideal tool for busy executives and professionals on the go. So, if your needs are a portable computer for basic computing tasks and you find that your main notebook is too heavy and bulky or your smartphone’s keyboard and screen are too small, then a Netbook could be something for you to consider.

You can do almost anything on a Netbook as long as it's not graphics-rich gaming, or serious photo and video editing.  Right now, a Netbook's power is similar to a decent laptop from six or seven years ago. While they may not be as powerful as traditional notebooks (and often have smaller screens), they are perfect for simple web browsing, emailing, and other light computing needs. 

The Netbook’s lack of mechanical moving parts (like CD drives) and the lower power requirements of their processors, actually contributes to a much longer battery life and makes them perfect for long journeys. Even in a depressed economy, these are the sort of practical, low-cost specifications that most businesses will be looking for in a new company laptop. 

Although Netbooks are lower-powered, the recent trend toward Cloud Computing; ie: web-based email, office and other services (as opposed to installing software on the computer itself) means having a powerful machine isn't essential.  Newer syncing strategies using exchange-like servers, and web-hosted applications, your data no longer cares if you're at the office on a PC, or on the road with your primary laptop, or even a Netbook. You can check in at work, or do some light-weight computing at meetings, all with a platform that offers more flexibility than a smart phone, and less overhead than a traditional laptop.

So, this year, will you use a Netbook to augment your primary PC?

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