February 16, 2009

Fishing for a C&D

Netbook. I'm blogging about netbooks. You know, the generic name for the slue of clamshell computers that cost less than $500 that have been selling like crazy for the past year and a half? Right, a netbook - like the Eee PC, or the Acer Aspire One, or the MSI Wind, or the HP Mininote, or the Dell Mini 9. They are all netbooks. I personally love netbooks. I've owned 2 netbooks myself. An Asus Eee PC 701 4GB Surf (Black) and my current MSI Microsoft Wind (windbook) U100-422CA (Black).

The average netbook today has a 1.6 Ghz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, 120GB or 160GB HD, WiFi b/g or b/g/n, at least one multiformat SD card reader, 2 or 3 USB 2.0 ports, a 4-cell or 6-cell battery, a 0.3MP or 1.3MP webcam, and probably BlueTooth. The screens are usually 10" - 10.2" with a resolution of 1024 x 600, (although some netbooks have 8.9" screens with the same resolution - netbooks rarely come with 7" screen anymore, although the first netbook, the Asus Eee PC, had that).

The first netbooks had really tiny keyboards - but the average netbook keyboards today are 89% - 93% of fullsized. Most netbooks don't come with optical drives, although a few have been announced with optical drives - and there are several smaller notebooks that have optical drives, but they tend to cost several times the average price of netbooks.

You may ask yourself why I'm talking so much about netbooks, and particularly why I keep saying the word netbook over and over again. Netbook, netbook, netbook. It's because Canadian firm Psion Teklogix is pushing forward with a plan (PDF) to hijack the netbook industry using registered trademarks (like this one) that experts believe to be unenforceable.

Psion Teklogix has sent "literally hundreds" of cease & desist letters (sample) to netbook manufacturers and retailers (as well as bloggers and journalists) giving them until the end of March 2009 to "transition to a different descriptive term".

This plan could raise prices, cause confusion and ultimately limit consumer choice.

I've been looking for a reason to hate Canadians. Now I have one. (That's not exactly true, dear Canadian readers, I hate all nationalities equally. ;^) )

So, Psion, I'm ready for my Cease and Desist letter. Bring it on. Netbook, netbook, netbook....

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