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A netbook (or mini-notebook) is a small portable laptop computer designed for wireless communication and access to the Internet. The word netbook is a portmanteau of the words Internet and notebook.

Primarily designed for web browsing and emailing, netbooks rely heavily on the Internet for remote access to web-based applications" and are targeted increasingly at cloud computing users who require a less powerful client computer.

As of the start of 2009, the established definition of a netbook was a notebook computer with a low-powered x86-compatible processor (compatible with PC standard software), small screen (no larger than 10 inches), small keyboard, equipped with wireless connectivity, lightweight (under three pounds) and no optical disk drive. Netbooks are typically low cost, relative to other notebooks.

Netbook Operating System

Netbooks typically run either Windows XP or Linux operating systems rather than more resource-intensive operating systems like Windows Vista.

As of January 2009, over 90% of netbooks are estimated to ship with Windows XP. Customized Linux distributions are estimated to ship on about 10% of netbooks, making it the second most popular operating system after Windows.

Google has also developed its own hybrid Android software platform, which is based on Linux.

Netbook Size

The devices range in size from below 5 inches to over 13, typically weigh 2 to 3 pounds (~1 kg) and are often significantly cheaper than general purpose laptops ($400), with some even in the $50–100 range under some circumstances.


The roots of the netbook can be traced to Psion's discontinued netBook line, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project and the Palm Foleo which were all small, light network-enabled computers, however the influx of netbooks began in 2007 when Asus unveiled the ASUS Eee PC.

By late 2008, netbooks had begun to take market share away from laptops. It is estimated that almost thirty times more netbooks were sold in 2008 (11.4 million, 70% of which were in Europe) than in 2007 (400,000). For 2009 sales are expected to jump to 35 million, rising to an estimated 139 million in 2013.

In April 2009 mobile network operator AT&T began to offer subsidized netbooks for customers who sign up for a 2 year service plan.


At the start of 2009, models based on ARM and PowerPC architectures were released, indicating a shift away from Intel processors like the Atom (though some hybrid models contain both Intel and alternative architectures). Models using a MIPS System-on-a-chip (SoC) architecture also appeared around the same time, resulting in very low-cost systems.

As modern versions of Windows require x86-family microprocessors, it will not run on these netbooks. Linux, however, has fully supported non-x86 architectures such as MIPS, ARM, and PowerPC for many years.

This document is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which means that you can copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.

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