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Microsoft renames netbooks 'low cost small notebook PCs'

Rolls off the tongue, donnit?

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Just when we thought the whole "netbook" terminology mess was sorted out properly, the PC industry gives its wheel of marketing whale song another spin.

Fresh out of the Computex show in Taipei are two - count 'em, two - fresh new names for small, cheap computers.

Folks, toss out your netbooks, ultrathins, subnotebooks, mini-notebooks, ULCPCs, handhelds, and ultraportables. "Smartbooks" and "low cost small notebook PCs" are now on the scene.

That latter long-winded term was coined by none other than Microsoft. The company apparently feels compelled to further refine the "netbook" category because newer machines are doing more than just internet browsing.

Digitimes reports the new wearisome genus is being championed by Steven Guggenheimer, a man who bears the appropriately cumbersome title of Microsoft's "general manager of the Application Platform & Development Marketing Division."

It's speculated that Microsoft's real intentions are simply to separate more able-featured machines from lesser kit so it won't have to ship as many cut-rate versions of Windows Starter Edition in what it will now define as a "netbook."

Perhaps less nefarious (but no less asinine) is an effort by Freescale and Qualcomm to have their particular flavor of small cheap computers called "smartbooks."

What makes smartbooks so astute is that they will be smaller, cheaper, have longer battery life and instant-on capabilities, according to EE Times. In a former age, this would simply be chalked up as a generational upgrade, but alas, it looks like it's time to revise the netbook lexicon chart. ®

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