As we all know one of nature's biggest irony is that the only thing which remains constant is 'Change'. And nothing demonstrates that faster and better than Electronic and IT gadgets, (I hope you've seen the amazing Salesforce.com video that demonstrates IT system's evolution, a MUST WATCH), The evolution has had us move from mainframes to PCs to Desktops to Laptops and now we hear of NetTops ! What exactly are these NetTops ?
Quoting the Wikipedia "A Nettop is a type of mini desktop or small form factor computer designed for performing basic computation tasks such as surfing the Internet, accessing web-based applications and rich internet applications, document processing and audio/video playback etc."
But why this move from race for computing devices Desktops/Laptops going high end every other month, to a device that is really basic? Isn't this a step back in time ?
The answer is no, and the reason partly lies in my earlier post 'Future-as-a-service'. Imagine if the future is Software-free, with all software being available as a Service that you can use through a basic computing device that only provided internet connectivity, a browser and basic OS level administration capabilities - won't it complement the on-demand or SaaS world perfectly ? Why would one need to carry high end, heavier laptops everywhere he/she goes if all they are using is a browser to access their enterprise applications, documents (Google docs/spreadsheet e.g.), mails etc.
Great lateral thinking once again I'd say, and I'm positive that the future of NetTops would be bright as well. But there is still time where we had a world with 'no-software' and NetTops became omnipresent. And I'm sure before that there will be a transition period where we had both a Laptop and a NetTop - almost like having both a regular Car and a Tata Nano ! :-) .. both serving different purpose and complementing coexistence.
Edit-[28-Aug-09]: Just read this interesting news article on CIO.com 'Students Abandoning Apple MacBooks for Cheap Netbooks' and thought would capture it here to track the trend on this topic- this definitely looks like a tiny step in the direction I indicated above. BTW, Netbooks are not exactly NetTops, but very close to this category - simply put, it's a no-frills Laptop.