SMBs unimpressed by netbooks
Cool for school, not work?
Netbooks might be gaining popularity among consumers and college kids, but small and medium businesses (SMBs) are proving immune to their charms.
More than two thirds of SMBs plan on buying new PCs and laptops in the next six months, but netbooks are a low priority, according to a Spiceworks survey.
Just 13 per-cent of SMBs plan on buying a netbook compared to 56 per cent buying a new laptop and 55 per cent a new laptop. Even servers, which like PCs have seen sales implode during the recession, look like picking up with 45 per cent planning a server purchase.
Spiceworks did not say why so few SMBs plan on buying netbooks. One challenge could be the fact that the form factor is smaller than most business laptops - and certainly desktops - making them seem unsuited to the kinds of workers that like to load up on applications and who need lots of windows and keyboard space.
Also, netbooks are currently viewed as a second purchase after your regular laptop, making them (possibly) look like a luxury item to IT buyers.
This may change over time. Recent technologies that started in the consumer space and forced their way into business include email, web browsers, and mobile phones in general and the iPhone in particular.
Netbooks are currently being adopted by some niches of users inside organizations.
It could also be that the consumer label increasingly associated with netbooks puts them off the radar for SMB buyers.
In an indication of SMB buying habits, Spiceworks noted the average new hardware order for an SMB is expected to include 13 desktops, 10 laptops, and two servers.
Hardware overall will remain the biggest IT budget item for companies. SMBs expect to spend 37 per cent of their annual budgets upgrading and buying new equipment. Security and anti-spam top the list of spending on software - 32 per cent plan such purchases - with 35 per cent planning to buy them as cloud-based offerings instead of getting them in a box or on a DVD.
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@Why SMB's don't do netbooks
XP-home can't join a domain which breaks most office setups.
Except for that they are perfect for office use.
Government workers will find them much easier to leave on a train.
And managers only use laptops to run Outlook and take home for their kids to play with and download lots of fun viruses and trojans before bringing them back into the office network on monday.
Rightly so, because A's needs are not necessarily B's needs.
I've been in discussions about netbooks with various people in IT. General consensus is that netbooks do not deliver value for money and proper usability, because of the lack of enough screen real-estate, bad keyboards, and XP Home are just not going to work out for the desired applications, unless you're just a simple home user.
* Screens are for most models limited to a 600 pixel height, a showstopper for educational and financial applications. Expecting or convincing software companies to downscale their apps is not realistic.
* Keyboards vary - Kids can handle some small layouts, many will complain, adults will refuse, because they are used to regular notebook or desktop keyboards.
* XP Home under Microsoft's "low cost small notebook PC" license. XP Home can't join domains, and the license limits application of the entire setup.
* Removing XP Home in favour of XP Pro, Vista or 7: prepare to nearly double or triple your purchase price per unit, depending on choice of version. Don't forget eligibility in license.
* BIOS is consumer market oriented, lacking business type features such as on-boot asset tag messages and full hardware configuration.
* Lifetime of the product leaves to be desired. For IT projects it is desirable to purchase in bulk, from a single production date so the hardware doesn't vary, because varying hardware increases workload (building, maintaining and retaining software images, as an example). Not going to happen with netbooks, because it's the 'new' thing, and new models are replacing 'old' models too quickly right now.
That said, i'm quite happy with my Samsung NC10, but I don't run business applications on it either as it simply doesn't fit.
Docking Stations for Netbooks.....
....are not necessary. At home, my EEE-901 (XP) sits with its lid closed, under a 17" LCD monitor and pumps out a 1280x1024 signal through the VGA connector. It autodetects the external monitor (which it refers to as CRT) and if you press the Fn-F5 key you can cycle through the different twin-screen options. The only option I use is 'CRT only' so I can operate with the netbook lid closed.
A little wireless dongle plugs into the right hand USB connector and talks to the wireless keyboard and optical mouse (£20 from PC World) which are a much better experience than the netbook keyboard and mouse. An external DVD writer connects to the left hand USB connector. With its Wi-Fi active, it is then on my home network and has access to my NAS box and the internet.
Alternatively, it sits in the living room under my LCD-TV which has a VGA input and it plays full screen videos (using VLC media player) from my NAS box onto my TV. (Reading folder contents and file lists on a TV screen from the other side of the living room is not something you want to do much of though).
How easy is that?
but that would mean they would have a lower budget requirment.....
why would they spend £300 on a netbook when thay can buy a overkill laptop for £2000 on expenses as a tax sink...
they both can do the same thing, they both run at the same slow speed (once bulked out with rubbish corporate junk software) and they both will be abused, lost, sat on, stolen...
i would have thought all SMB's would be goin gout of thier way to upgrade to netbooks or roll back to desktops to keep spiraling costs under control.
It's all in the price margin !
I don't buy the small screen explanation. The main factor lies in the retailer. In a SMB, most I know of at least, you buy software according to the description of your job you give to your IT solutions provider (I don't know the exact word in english). Along software, he sells you the needed hardware, taking a margin on the deal in the process (here, around 20%). Of course, it's only human he favours higher priced laptops ! This is nicely wrapped in marketing speech, and it only leads to forming the belief no actual work can be done on a sub 500 € computer in the kinds of my former boss.
My former boss was happily fighting with an expensive subnotebook that shouted "big bucks" all over, but didn't put a second glance on my personal eeepc the second after I told him it cost only 300 €. As a matter of fact, I was doing pretty much exactly the same kind of things he did on his laptop. Netbook just scream work, not attitude.