The netbook may be making big waves with newer and better models making the scene all the time these days, but like any other technology, it’ just a step to something better. All the big companies from HCL to Acer, ASUS and Dell have Netbook models that are designed to fit all price ranges of those looking to invest in a mobile computing device other than a mobile phone. Of course the mobile is their biggest competition anyhow. Although the netbook may be a far more convenient option for the user on the go thanks to its smaller, lighter design, it won’t stay that way for long.

The next generation of netbooks is, in fact, already here. Devices like Apple’s iPad and the introduction of other such touchscreen devices powered by processors like Nvidia’s Tegra 250 have also made their presence known. I’m not just talking about global announcements but some of these devices will be on our own shelves quite soon.

The Tablet PC is the future of the netbook. The design was quite the obvious choice for manufacturers. The netbook is going the way of the mobile phone. From handsets with keypads we moved on to those with touchscreen interfaces and builds that accommodated the same. The designs got sleeker and the devices became more versatile for the user unleashing a whole new dimension of interactivity with daily used technology. Designers simply removed the keypad altogether and left us with nothing more than the display. To an extent this also left devices feeling light and easier to use for some.

The Netbook is at its peak right now but once the Tablets start rolling out; it’s quite possible these devices would be pushed to the back of the same shelves they once stood proudly on. The Tablet PC is an exciting form of mobile communication that can do everything a netbook can and also offer better media support, at least that’s what Nvidia promises with Tegra 250. Like the evolution of the mobile handset, consider the Tablet PC to be just the netbook’s screen sans the keypad, making an even more portable and easy to use device.

From USB Support to built-in memory card readers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, and even SIM connections for users to connect to 3G services when that gets here finally the Tablet PC will have you wanting for nothing. Some of these new devices can also be considered to be oversized mobile handsets – in the iPad’s case it's just an oversized iPod Touch. They’ll offer users the ability to make standard calls via GSM or CDMA networks and of course VOIP when in Wi-Fi or 3G range. Operating systems will be designed to offer users better functionality for internet usage, from mundane functions like surfing or emailing to social networking.Of course not everyone is for the touchscreen generation, and some will still prefer the tactile feel of the physical keypad’s buttons as well as the trackpad, even though a touchscreen would mean less movement.

I don’t believe the netbook will go the way of the Dodo, just yet, but one can never be too sure with technology these days. On the other hand, if the touch-display system was the ‘be all and end all’ of modern technology, we wouldn’t see handsets with QWERTY keypads, sliders, or even touchscreen phones with slide out keypads at all. Nevertheless, the versatility of the smaller ‘laptop’, the netbook, is soon going to be overtaken by the far more mobile Touchscreen tablet PC.

It just goes to show how quickly technology is moving and how difficult it is for us the consumer to make choices. What’s new and exciting technology today could be old and obsolete tomorrow. But even older technology merely gets updated but very rarely becomes completely outdated.

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