PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



The Netbook Revolution

State of TechnologyMore and more students these days use laptops to take notes in class, or bring them around campus to browse the internet and do homework.  Thanks to the proliferation of WiFi hotspots, students can perform work from more places than ever before.  But laptops’ dominance in students’ lives may soon be over, thanks to a new category of ultra-portable laptops known as netbooks.

Netbooks first began with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, which intended to build small, cheap laptops for students in 3rd-world countries.  However,  before the first netbook could be released, in 2007 computer company Asus launched their own EeePC.  Featuring a 7-inch display and smaller keyboard than conventional laptops, the EeePC quickly gained a large following, and other computer manufacturers began to launch their own netbooks, including the MSI Wind and Dell Mini series.  Today, the typical netbook has between a 5 to 13 inch screen, and only weighs 2 to 3 pounds.  Many run various versions of Linux, rather than Windows.

The growth of netbooks may have important implications for students.  As they are even lighter and more portable than laptops, they are even easier to stuff into a backpack.  Some more expensive models run Windows XP which allows them to have the same functionality as laptops.  Also, most get great battery life, allowing them to survive several classes without needing to be recharged.  Their “grab-and-go” nature may encourage increased usage for note-taking in class, and their smaller footprint makes it much easier for students to fit them on their desks (I don’t want to think about trying to use a normal laptop in the Forum!).  In addition, many of them are priced as low as $300. Their prices rarely exceed $600.

However, as with nearly anything in life, there are downsides to netbooks.  Their small keyboards make it difficult for some students to type.  Also, many models don’t feature optical drives, and have smaller solid-state drivers instead of larger hard-disc drives.  This would keep many people from being able to use netbooks as their primary computers.

It is still too early to say if netbooks will begin to overtake laptops on college campuses, but there will certainly be more showing up in students’ backpacks across the country due to their incredible portability.  However, their small size and lack of storage space will probably be a turn-off to many potential buyers.  Only time will tell.

About the Author


Robert is a level 80 wizard who enjoys watching Korean Starcraft matches. He also likes to play the guitar and read about technology.


More by Robert

The PSU Website: Just How Good is It?

The internet is taking over print media more and more every day. Unfortunately, not every college utilizes it to the fullest. Russell Powell, a PR officer at Elms College, realized this and recently wrote an editorial for The Chronicle of Higher Education detailing his thoughts on what a college website should be like. Powell writes […]

Smartphones and U

Why Penn State’s Bandwidth Limitation Sucks


Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Former Penn State women’s gymnastics head coach Jeff Thompson has filed a lawsuit against the university following the termination of his contract in February 2017. Thompson, alongside his wife and associate head coach Rachelle Thompson, was accused by former gymnasts and an assistant coach of creating a hostile team environment. The Thompsons allegedly pressured athletes to compete […]

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Penn State Women’s Soccer Adds Swiss Forward Kim Dubs

Student Life

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

The lab uses a combination of human genomics, computational biology, and functional studies, using Drosophila and human cell lines, to understand the risks caused by genetic mutations and to grasp how gene disruption leads to altered neurodevelopment.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Pennharmonics To Hold 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love you to join us.

Mayor Don Hahn Asks Borough Council To Consider Changes To Proposed Overnight Parking Restrictions

State College Mayor Don Hahn posted on his blog Sunday republishing a letter he sent to Borough Council on August 1 outlining three revisions he’d like them to consider for the proposed overnight parking restrictions.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend