GuyClapperton 12 Staff Writer

The fact that Hewlett-Packard is taking its netbooks more seriously is to be welcomed. A while ago I was going away and my laptop broke down; armed with my existing 3G dongle and an Asus eeePC I was able to use Google Docs to keep all my work up to date, update my blog here, all sorts of stuff and I had change from £200 (about $312 at today's interest rates). This sort of performance for this price and the money it stopped me losing kind of speaks for itself.

I do wonder, though, about a brand as big as HP going big on this stuff. First the keyboard is too small but even if they adjust the form factor - a relatively simple move - there are issues. Storage is inevitably small on these systems but that's OK, everyone's going to say, because you don't store anything locally.

The thing is, corporate US and UK don't seem all that keen on cloud computing just yet. Everyone who knows about technology thinks it's brilliant but the people who actually use it are reluctant. I mentioned on a radio broadcast recently, for example, that I'd been using Google Docs and some listeners e-mailed in about how ludicrous it was for anyone who wanted anything kept confidential to keep stuff on anything so riddled with security holes. (I asked them to mail in again and substantiate the claim, and of course they went quiet on me).

Consumers and the small businesses that make up the economy aren't going to change all that radically all that soon. This is going to be seen as Cloud Computing by the back door if it goes mass-market. My guess is that its broad success is still a few years away.

Which is a pity, because once you're over the 'trust' obstacle, you're into a much lower-cost and easy-to-use-with-multiple-devices computing world.

A report on the HP machine is here.