The first version of the netBook (also known as mini-notebooks) for general computing applications and for accessing web applications first appeared in 2007. These “primitive” models lacked many of the features of today. They had smaller screens and did not even have an optical drive. Nevertheless their potential was immediately recognized by the masses and lapped up.
The predecessor of the netBook can be traced back to 1991 when the Psion-3 was released. The key factor that sets this particular model apart is that it included a dial-up modem. Since then, we have had the Toshiba Libretto 20, Casio Cassiopeia, Psion netBook, HP Jornada, OQO Model 01, Sony VAIO X505 and finally, the netBook that has really kicked off the phenomenon in 2007, the Asus Eee PC 701.
The reason for the netBook’s popularity is simple. The reliance that people now have on the internet is great which means that people need to have access or to be plugged in to the World Wide Web wherever they are. With the advent of Wi-Fi and free internet access points popping up everywhere, it became normal for people to purchase laptops and carry them to whatever location they travelled to. Yet the problem of weight was a pressing one and this is where the netBook has won hands down.
The netBook’s primary function is to be a device that provides access to the internet. Although mobile phones and handheld devices like the iPod Touch provide the same function, the netBook with a larger screen, QWERTY keyboard and now with an optical drive is a clear winner for anyone who needs to be in touch with the world without being hampered by the limits of a tiny device.