Netbooks Not Netbooks… So What Are They?


A few weeks ago everyone and their dad’s mom’s nephew’s cousin’s friend was talking about Android Netbooks hitting the scene. But even Google would tell you they aren’t really “Netbooks” – for legal reasons.


The term “netbook” was actually trademarked by a company names Psion at least 8 years ago. Recently, portable computing devices – much more so than laptops – with WiFi or other form of web access have been commonly referred to as netbooks. According to CrunchGear, Psion sent out Cease & Desist letters saying that they own the right to the term netbook. While there have been no court cases to determine the legality, Google themselves have, in a way, ruled on the matter.

Google has banned the term “netbook(s)” from being used on Google Adwords, citing trademark violation. Sure, Google could be erring on the side of safety, but one would think that if Google came to this conclusion the United States Government very well could, too. Psion said they will only go after companies using the term netbook in situations they intend to profit on. Intel is using the term netbook in their own promotional materioal and even own the domain name Uhohs…


What term should Netbook be replaced with? Minibook? Intertiny? Portable Computing Device (PCD)? Lil WeenieTops? Lets coin a term here and force the industry to run with it just after we trademark it so we can earn some monies. Sound good? Let’s hear it…

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

Archos Android Phone/Tablet, Sick Like Arsenic

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  1. Oddly, since my main computer is a 13″ laptop, I’ve been eyeing the new 10″ Dell Lil WeenieTop, and I’m diggin’ it…

  2. “a company named Psion”? It’s weird that Psion is no longer is a tech standard name. Back in the 90’s they were the main competitor to Palm.

    Also, they created the Symbian OS, which (in its evolved form) is one of the most prolific mobile operating systems (used on all Nokia and other smartphones).

    The more you know!

  3. umm,, how about “net-tops”?

  4. there’s always UMPC or ultra portable laptop

  5. How about simply coining them web-books. Is not net and def. rings the same.

  6. The term Web-books would really dumb down their abilities. A web-book would be a device that lets you look at webpages (whereas a netbook is able to connect you to all the features of the internet).

    Web=World wide web (websites)

    Yeah, you could argue that webcams are coined wrong, and you’d be right. They’re technically “netcams”.

  7. By the same token, “netbooks” can do much more than simply allow you to use the internet. They function perfectly well as less-powerful, stand-alone computers. You can do word processing, play (possibly older) games, etc. The name “netbook” doesn’t prohibit them from doing non-internet tasks and nor would the term “web-book” keep them from doing non www-related tasks. It’s just a name…

  8. it’s just a name. Psion will not let anyone to use the name netbooks for commercial purpose. Why don’t just pick a name like “kontol”. After all, how in the world did they ever come up with a name like “yahoo!” and “google” ??

  9. “Save the Netbooks” campaign launched to fight impending trademark threat

    The “Save the Netbooks” campaign is fighting the impending trademark threat from Psion Teklogix, who have given until the end of March 2009 to cease using the term citing trademarks relating to a line of products discontinued over 5 years ago.

    For more information visit

  10. Are we really that serious…I’m just learning how to text!
    Call them what you want – they’re great!

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