Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I was tempted to buy a netbook today


I saw what appeared to be a killer deal today: A GPS-equipped Dell netbook that includes turn-by-turn navigation features for $499. (I passed on the TV tuner because I never have time to watch television)

Now, let's step back for a minute. How do you use a netbook in your car? Who needs a netbook when you can simply buy a standalone GPS navigator like a TomTom, Garmin, or Magellan for less than $499?

But then again, who needs a standalone GPS unit when you can simply get a GPS-enabled smartphone and install turn-by-turn navigation software made by TomTom, Garmin, and several other major companies?

Fortunately, I did not purchase this netbook. I have enough computers (including some that have built-in GPS functionality) and I really don't need another gadget right now. My HTC Touch Pro2 works just fine as a GPS navigator. My OQO model 02 and my Samsung Q1 Ultra (Ultra-Mobile PC or UMPC) are great gadgets that are capable of GPS navigation if I pair a Bluetooth GPS. My Lenovo Thinkpad X200 tablet PC has a built-in GPS because of the built-in WWAN radio.

So why was I tempted to buy this Dell netbook? Because you simply don't see too many netbooks advertised as a GPS navigator with turn-by-turn navigation software. As netbooks continue to evolve, perhaps a built-in GPS will become a standard feature. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and fairly standard features. Built-in WWAN is getting to be a standard feature, and this often means that you'll get a built-in GPS antenna.

Sorry Dell, maybe next time. $499 is just too much. $299 is a different story. Of course, if others are looking for a netbook that includes either a built-in GPS or a built-in TV tuner, then you should take a look at the Dell Mini 10 and 10v (starting at $299, but going up to $499 for the nicer models).

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