Netbooks worm their way into businesses

Netbooks worm their way into businesses

Netbook systems are primarily seen as consumer devices. But the pint-size PCs are starting to find a place at some companies.

Even some IT professionals, who often look askance at new or nonstandard devices because of the security and tech support complications they can create, are relaxing that attitude in the case of netbooks.

"The only restriction from my IT manager is that I install the recommended antivirus software," said Benny Lo, a manager at a Hong Kong-based accounting firm that he asked not be named. Lo routinely uses his two Eee PCs on business trips or to work from home.

Malcolm Crabbe, a systems administrator at a restaurant supply company in London, said that the business replaced Dell Latitude laptops used by its 25 field engineers with Eee PC 901 systems three months ago.

Feedback from the users "has been very positive," said Crabbe, who also asked that his company not be identified. The netbooks, he noted, are "light enough to be held in one hand [and] compact enough to fit under the seats" in the vans used by field engineers - an attribute that he said helps prevent thefts.

But, Crabbe noted, the systems are also powerful enough to be used in reprogramming faulty customer equipment. The use of the netbooks is saving money and helping to speed up equipment repairs, he said, adding that the company hopes to get "two or three years from each Eee."

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