Defining the difference between a “netbook” PC and a “notebook” one has never been an exact science–despite several ridiculous lawsuits that would make you think otherwise. But Asus has decided to confuse matters even further: its upcoming 1004DN Eee PC will include an optical disc drive.
Now lets look at the Eee 1004DN. It has a 10-inch screen–smaller than most laptops, but much larger than the original Eee. It’s 1.3 inches deep at the widest point, which is 20% chunkier than my wife’s aging iBM, and it’s twice as deep as my “ultraportable” MacBook Air. Its keyboard seems to be a 96% regular size version. And its reportedly going to cost $550.
So it’s not overly small, it’s got an optical drive and it costs not much less than some entry level “full” notebooks that have a proper full-size keypad and more powerful CPUs–even dumb ol’ “Lauren” in the new Microsoft ad buys a 17-inch whopper for just $699. The 1004DN’s not a netbook, it’s a slightly shrunken laptop offering a degree more portability, with a low-grade processor and deflated pricing.
Granted, feature creep was always going to blur the definition of a netbook–especially in a now-crowded market and an economic crisis that’s reducing consumer spending. But it looks like the netbook, in its current shape and specs, has just about reached its design limitations.