Netbooks may have originally been targeted at educational and consumer markets. But they’re starting to make some headway in the corporate realm as well. ZDNet Asia recently profiled a few companies that are starting to use netbooks in Asia, as well as one that’s not ready to make that leap. Netbooks are starting to gain traction in the enterprise world for exactly the same reasons they’ve become popular with consumers: They’re cheaper and more portable than full sized laptops.
At the same time, they’re less powerful. That might not be a problem if you just want to use your netbook to login to Gmail, Facebook, and AIM. But it can cause problems when running some of the software that your company’s IT department likes to slap onto every computer in its care, ranging from security software to whatever specialized software your industry needs.
For one thing, most netbooks come with Windows XP Home, which lacks some of the security features found in Windows XP Pro or Vista. But companies can still pick up a netbook and install XP Pro on it for less than the price of most full sized laptops, provided they have enough XP Pro licenses handy. And Windows 7 Enterprise, which will feature even more security enhancements, is designed to run smoothly on computers with low system resources like netbooks.
But that still doesn’t make netbooks ideal for all situations. If you’re company is filled with people regularly taking short business trips where they simply need to get online to send and receive email and not much else, there’s no need to lug around a 6 pound, $2000 laptop. But if you need to run resource-intensive enterprise applications in the field, especially apps that require computers with high resolution screens, you’re not going to want a netbook.
In other words, netbooks aren’t going to replace larger, more powerful laptops for all enterprise uses anytime soon. But they are starting to play a roll in the business world.