Liking techno toys, I've been watching netbooks and tablet pc's with some interest. Intel Atom processors in many of the current netbooks are comparible to my old desktop machine that ran Windows XP for a long time before giving it new live with linux. AMD 64 XP 1700+ (1.5ghz), 1gig ram, Geforce 5200. I also remember how slow it was booting XP. It amazes me that they want to run Windows 7 on almost the same specs in a netbook. Solid State Drives kind of got put back on the drawing board, despite being faster than regular hard-drives (SSD's were expensive, low capacity, and unreliable)... too bad, they might have given netbooks a small boost running windows.
Now netbooks running linux (like many did when they first came out) was pretty feasible and interesting. A 1.6ghz cpu and 1gb of ram makes a pretty nice linux computer, and the low power requirements of the Atom made for some impressive "projected" battery life. The problems is price. Do a little shopping around. Most netbooks go for about ~$300, and buyer beware if you want to put linux on it, some of them have proprietary/non-compatible hardware. Now look at notebook computers, you can find some decent (usually more powerful) notebooks for $400-$500. Still have to check things out if you want to run linux, that is par for the course. Battery life isn't as nice, but in all honesty, are you really that far away from an outlet that long?
Now what is really interesting me is a bunch of netbooks and tablets pc's that are running ARM processors. Maybe you have heard of them? ARM is in many smart phones, PDA's, and other small and mobile devices. The closest thing Microsoft has to an OS to run on these cpus is Windows CE/Windows Mobile. From what I have seen of the google phones running Android (a linux OS), I don't know why anyone would want to tie themselves down with Windows on a mobile device. There are a number of companies getting the mobile band wagon with ARM based devices. Even Dell is suppose to have some interesting tablets and netbooks in the works, in varing sizes. Nokia has the N900 mobile computer running a form of linux. Several smaller companies have tablets in the works that have very impressive prototypes, all running ARM and some form of linux (Android, Meego, a few even running a modified version of Ubuntu).
And ARM is not a wimpy processor. A couple tablet prototypes were running HD videos to big tv's with only a 1gigahertz cpu. They have some prototype cpus that are running dual core 2ghz that takes less power than the single core 1.6ghz Atoms that we have now. ARM has been put in phones and PDA's for a while, I think they know how to make good low power processor.
And many of these devices are suppose to be in the sub-$200 range, a couple of the $100 range. Much more practical, and interesting.
Ok, I'm done getting all geeky for a bit.