Microsoft, HP, others shy away from Intel 'netbook' moniker

Netbook. Subnotebook. Mini-notebook. Mini-laptop. Mini. Why so many names for the same low-powered laptop with 10-inch screen and no optical drive?

Netbook. Subnotebook. Mini-notebook. Mini-laptop. Mini. Why so many names for the same low-powered laptop with 10-inch screen and no optical drive?

Netbooks are still in the early shakeout period when everyone is trying to figure out how to position the wildly popular devices. "Netbook" is the original term coined by Intel, maker of the netbook's Atom chip. Intel defines the netbook as "a simple, low-cost Internet device designed for basic Internet tasks such as browsing, social networking and education."

That's an accurate description of the netbook. But the companies trying to sell them would prefer to call them something that sounds a tad more capable. Cuter probably doesn't hurt, either.

"Netbook is limiting, and conveys an idea that the device is simply for surfing the web or Internet," an HP spokesperson told The Standard. "We chose the name HP Mini notebook ("Mini" for short) because our minis do much more than simply provide a conduit or connection to the Internet or Web. Our HP Mini's are full-functioning companion notebook PCs that offer business users and consumers a more complete computing experience in a very small, portable, and personal form factor."

Evidently Microsoft feels the same market pressure. After ticking off all the same netbook limitations as the Intel definition, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company preferred to call netbooks "small notebook PCs."

Though it's currently passed over netbooks in favor of developing a processor for a new ultrathin category of laptop, AMD said it prefers to call netbooks "mininotebooks" because that's the term analyst firms such as Gartner and IDC use.

With Dell and most other laptop vendors also favoring some variation on "mini-notebook" (Asus' Eec line is the big exception), it appears netbooks are headed toward standardizing on that name -- at least until the netbook branches out from its current specs and a whole new crop of confusing product labels come along.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags netbooks

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carla Thornton

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?