Is A 'Netbook' Really the Next Pet Rock?

Are netbooks, those mini-notebooks catching fire in the retail space, destined to become just a passing fad, the pet rocks and hula-hoops of the MySpace generation?  Seems like at least a few industry pundits are starting to believe so.

Here's an interesting Web report citing seven reasons this product category will fade away. I think that's certainly a contrarian stance, especially since channel players like Dell, HP, Acer, Asus and others are betting big on the low-priced technology. Still, the ChannelWeb dispatch cites detriments like small screens, limited processng power, their fraglility and the ever-looming presence of Uber-Marketer Steve Jobs as reasons these hyped gadgets could fade from the tech scene as quickly as they arrived.

Interesting concept, but I think not. These devices are kind of cool, lightweight and priced awfully cheap. We're heading into a phase where cheap is going to be good, very good, and expensive technology, ummm, probably not so much. Someday a mighty PDA may knock these netbooks from their perch, but it won't be the iPhone or any other mobile device with those lousy in-screen keyboards. Next year's promise of inexpensive in-flight Internet access could also prove tantalizing to Netbook denizens. I don't see them winding up as garage-sale pickups anytime soon.

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