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Impact - A Blog by INM

“Small is In" - Economic Woes Trigger Push toward Smaller Devices

February 9, 2009 by Tanya McGinnity

In these tough economic times, budgets, incomes and staff levels aren’t the only things shrinking. Tower computing systems, super-sized 17-inch laptops and brick sized mobile phones are all being replaced by sleek, tiny devices and peripherals which pack high-level performance into their small form factors.

We’re seeing innovation at a reduced size via the launch of some notable products like the miniscule 7”, 9” and 12” Inspiron Mini laptops offered by Dell (at a sub $500 price range) as well as the EEEPC line from Asus. Not only do these computers speak to the budget conscious, but they are a worthy selection for any student, business traveler, or executive looking for a decent portable solution without breaking the bank.

Also of note is the One Laptop per Child initiative (OLPC) which sends a design-centric, mini-laptop to a child in a developing country when you purchase one for yourself. The $399 price tag is a small cost to pay to spread access to technology to those less likely to be able to afford such privileges. It’s worth crediting this organization with sparking the whole trend towards netbooks in the first place although the feedback on this project hasn’t been overwhelmingly positive.

Operating systems of choice for these systems not only include the license-basedMicrosoft Windows, but also open source Linux options. These open source options keep software licensing costs down so these companies can provide reduced-cost computers without going too deep into their profit margins.