As a gadget lover, I always wished I had the travel budget to go to the Consumer Electronics Show. It is the place to see what technology is emerging and will possibly impact library services 2-3 years out. Netbook Computer

This year’s top technology may be Netbooks, tiny laptops could soon be as ubiquitous as mobile phones. Netbooks are low-powered portables that offer web-based email, office and other services – a cloud computing device.

Netbooks, which have screens measuring 7-10 inches and weighing around 2 lbs, are being marketed at people who want to be able to surf the web on the go and always have access to email and social networking sites.

Netbooks are defined by their low cost, many selling for under $600, and in a very compact form factor. Nearly all offer several USB ports, a webcam, LED backlit screens, integrated speakers, and Wi-Fi. Next generation Netbooks should include touch-screens and GPS navigation.

Sound interesting? Here are 5 tips on buying a Netbook.

Eric Schnell