by Mielle Sullivan, Janus Networks

This week, cell phone provider Verizon confirmed it plans to release its own netbooks this year. Verizon’s decision to move into the computer market is fuelled by two key factors: 1.) the demand for wireless data is growing 2.) most people in the U.S. already own cellphones.

I think Verizon is making a smart move, as netbooks will become the next coveted gadget of connected professionals and individuals. But why do we need netbooks? Why do we need another computing device?

As computing has come to dominate how we communicate, work and gather information, a variety of computers have evolved to suit our needs in various situations. The computers we use for work are often not the same as our personal-use computers. Likewise, smartphones which are hand-held computers, help us stay connected to our work and social sphere wherever we are, but in a limited way. What if you are out and you need to do something that requires a little more power than a smartphone can provide? Take out your laptop? At five to eight pounds, laptops arestill too big and heavy to carry around easily. And making lighter laptops isn’t so easy. We demand too much functionality from our laptops for them to be truly mobile devices any time soon. Their screen and key-board size alone make them too bulky.

Netbooks offer enough functionality to, say, edit that report while at a cafe, or do a little more research on the train without being weighed down by all your files, DVD player, web cam, speakers etc. Most netbooks are under two pounds, so you can casually carry one around. If your netbook is connected via 3G cellphone network, as the Verizon netbook will be, then your connectivity is not constrained to wireless hot-spots–another huge mobility asset.

In short, our mobile, web-connected lives demand different levels of computing power and mobility. Netbooks offer the portability of a smartphone and the power to work and engage more thoroughly, something many of us are discovering we need.

You can contact the author at
Read our blog:
Follow us in twitter: janusnetworks