What’s a Nettop?

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Nettops are small, low-power personal computers designed for internet browsing and basic tasks. They lack peripherals and computing power but are economical and environmentally friendly. They are being considered for use in developing countries due to their low energy requirements.

A nettop is a personal computer (PC) primarily intended for browsing and interacting with the Internet. Nettops are typically smaller and require less power than a full desktop computer or laptop computer. This conservation of size and resources comes at the expense of computing power and peripherals, as a nettop usually does not have any type of optical disc drive or other device. Nettops are primarily intended for use for accessing the Internet and web-based programs, such as e-mail and document creation and processing.

The term nettop comes from a portmanteau of the words internet and desktop, as computer is understood as a desktop primarily meant for internet use. Nettops have enough computing power to run an operating system (OS), and may have Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and plugs for speakers or headphones. While not intended to run programs that require a lot of processing power like cutting-edge PC games or music mixing software, nettops are made to be used much like other home entertainment desktop computers.

Nettop manufacturers use drives and processors that require just 1/10th the horsepower needed to run a typical desktop PC. This makes a nettop a good economical and environmental choice for someone looking to buy a first computer or for an experienced computer user wanting another one. These particular demographics have been targeted by nettop manufacturers and is considered a growing industry with untapped markets. A nettop in a centralized location would allow a person or family to access the Internet, create text documents in a word processing program, and download and play music.

Because a nettop can run simple programs and allow a user to access the Internet easily, it is being considered for use to assist citizens in developing countries. They require much less energy to operate, which makes nettops optimal choices for people in countries that cannot produce or afford as much electricity and energy as other nations. But with improved technology at hand, people in such countries may be better able to build a stronger future. As more and more people work to create a truly global community, with a network of citizens in every nation of the world, less expensive and less wasteful forms of technology may be needed to achieve that reality.

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