Will Smart Phones Kill Netbooks? (No. They Won't.)

Among bloggers, there is a certain tendency when writing about the shifting tectonics of technology to proclaim that every little development must spell "The End" of something else (... guilty as charged.) So here's a column about how smart phones spell The End for small web-oriented netbook laptops.

Stephen Williams of the New York Times:

The netbook, which rose to great popularity only about a year ago, may, in fact, become the victim of the technology that helped create such a small computer. Ultra-thin machines now offer more power in much lighter packages, smartphones with increased Web functionality and more sophisticated processors will eclipse the netbook's rather limited abilities, and the tablet computer is likely waiting in the wings from companies like Dell and Apple.

Well, as somebody who's interested in buying a netbook with my Christmukkah gift money, I'll object. I want a netbook because I do all my computer-related activity -- blogging, emailing, listening to music -- online, and there's no reason for me to pay $1000 for an Apple laptop when I can buy a cheap HP netbook with better battery life for $300. Smart phones are great. But I'm not going to blog on my Blackberry. Reading texts from my mom is easy, but I'd rather not read a New Yorker story she emails to me on a 1.5''-by-1.5'' screen. The ability of smart phones to do pretty much everything doesn't mean they obviate other tools -- the same way owning a Swiss Army Knife doesn't obviate a better corkscrew or pair of scissors. For my money (literally) netbooks are here to stay. And I think they're here to thrive.