With some of the most recognized names in the high-tech industry -- Intel, Arm, Microsoft, Linux, Acer, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and many more -- hyping netbooks as the next big thing, InfoWorld decided to take a look at a category whose exact definition is still in flux to see how and where they fit into business usage.

When it comes to deciding if your IT department should support netbooks, IT must answer two critical questions.

First, can netbooks play a unique role better than any other device you have? In other words, are they a category distinct from laptops at the high-performance and usability end, while standing apart from handhelds at the lower range in performance and usability?

Second, although netbooks make a great first impression as practical and inexpensive devices, IT must also consider how mobile devices are used at the street level within their own organization. Do they fit into the overall business IT strategy? Do they add to or detract from the total cost of ownership?

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