Netbooks: Price today. Problems tomorrow?

Posted on 03 October 2008 by



IMG_7324How long will it be until netbook launches get zero press coverage? The comments on a recent netbook story over at Engadget give plenty of hints.  "Ahh i’m sick of all these mini laptops" says one commenter. "Please just make a weekly overview of the xxx rebadged notebooks that come out every day." says another.

How long before the profit margins on netbooks become so slim that there’s nowhere to go with pricing and all the devices become die-stamped copies? There’s at least five versions of the MSI Wind out there now and the latest one is by a light-bulb manufacturer! Will the next one use the Facebook brand as the differentiator?

How long before netbooks pass through the mass-market phase and enter laggard territory where they are pimped and given away free with a subscription to Readers Digest Online? How long before OEMs start to realise that most consumers are finding peace with netbooks, that even companies are buying them and that it’s possibly dangerous for their core laptop business? How long before the pricing war goes out of control and the quality suffers? How long before the money for R&D dries up and there’s no way out? It seems to me that there are issues for both OEMs and conumers ahead. [Article continues]

I’m not saying that netbooks are bad for consumers and I’m not saying that they wont be successful and sell tens of millions. Right now, things are looking bright for the consumer but I’m more than a little bit worried about the business model and risks for long-term quality issues that might come back and bite us. Here are some of the things rattling round my head as I write this article.

  • Profit margins will get too low for high-street sales.
  • Free netbooks from carriers will be easy to buy in 2009.
  • The netbook will become the free toaster of the advertising industry.
  • Some consumers are happy with netbooks as their only device
  • Netbooks will cross over into laptop territory and will affect standard laptop pricing.
  • ARM core netbooks are on the way.
  • Smartphone netbook sleeves are going to appear.
  • There’s limited room for increasing the processing power without damaging notebook sales.
  • There’s limited room for improving specifications without damaging specialist device sales.
  • It is becoming an increasingly boring and uninspiring market. (But that’s probably just the UMPC-loving geek in me saying that!)

It might look like a great time for consumers now but in two years time when we’re still getting run-of-the-mill devices with even cheaper components, cheaper batteries and cheaper engineering, we’ll wonder why we haven’t seen any OLED screens. Or next-gen batteries. Or high quality speakers. Or why the A, S and Enter key print has rubbed off or why the disk speed is still as slow as it was 5 years ago or why you’re still unable to edit videos on your laptop like you see in the adverts! It will be because the big notebook companies and carriers will have fought for customer numbers in the hope that they can lock people into their brand and get them to trade up every 18 months or buy a stack of accessories ir data plans. It will be because there will be no room on the accounting books for doing the R&D on new technologies. It will be be because we, as consumers, will simply buy the cheapest thing going without any regard for quality. In terms of consumer technology, nothing will move forward and we’ll be left doing tabletop computing with boring, possibly inefficient user interfaces, just like we always did. We’ll end up in a computing rut that me, and I guess many other mobile computing fans, would hate to see.

I guess its no different than cars and clothes and that it is inevitable. We shouldn’t be surprised as every product category tends towards 2, 1 or even zero % profit when it takes hold in a mass market. We’re all suckers for a ‘bargain’ and drive the process ourselves. In the end, if you want quality you have to pay for it but the problem is that it becomes a nightmare for consumers to find the wheat for the chaff. Does the ASUS N10 give you a better quality device that will last longer or is it an Eee PC 1000H with a few cheap extras bolted on? In the end, the customer is given the task of due-diligence and what might have been a fun process of choosing a new device becomes a nightmare of owners horror stories dragged up by Google. The whole buying process becomes a pain in the back-side. The R&D process slows down too so things like battery and screen tech take longer to filter through and become out of reach for even pro-sumers. Origami UMPCs may have been expensive but the thought, design, technology and even dreams behind them are what pushes solutions forward. Two failures and then a winner is, in my eyes, more desirable in the long-run than a safe-as-house marketing group that is happy to take technology a step back in time. You have to applaud Acer for having the courage to break away but I really hope they have an exit strategy.

The first casualties have already been seen in the netbook market. VIA are getting stomped on as Intel throw billions at pushing better cheaper chips out of the door. VIA has an answer but can this small company move quickly enough to respond? Even Intel’s own MID dreams appear to have been put on hold. Was Samsung’s empty booth at IDF a sign that resources got pushed from the MID project into the netbook project? The Linux ecosystem seems to be suffering too. There’s no time or money for people like Canonical, Linpus and Xandros to build slick operating systems because devices need to go from whiteboard to Engadget in 6 months and wins need to be made with the first wave of products. Its an opportunity that the Linux community may not be able to react to quickly enough. There have already been warning signs from Analysts and I’m sure there will be more.

As consumers, we’re in a good phase. Most of the products out there appear to be of reasonable quality and they are definitely serving a need. It could even be said that they are promoting the idea of low-impact computing and bringing the idea of mobility to the general public but I have this horrible feeling that the netbook pricing wars will progress and we’ll start to find out about hidden cuts after its too late. It will be silly things like changes in SSD specifications or touchpad manufacturers at first (yes, there’s evidence of that already!) but then we’ll start to see broken hinges, and failing components. There’s always the support line and the one-year warranty to fall back on but again, these will be full of holes. Is this the sort of mobile computing that we want the general public to be introduced to?

Is there a way that netbooks can progress without negatively affecting profits, R&D, design and innovation? Is there enough room for a reliable brand to rise up? Can Apple move into this market and stir it up? Will this all be over quickly and painlessly when someone introduces a smartphone that docks into a netbook sleeve and provides a true modular, mobile, in-the-cloud personal computing system or are there people out there that think the same as me and see a rocky road? Tell me what you think. In the long-term, are netbooks really a good thing?

Note: Despite my negativity, we will continue to cover netbooks on UMPCPortal. Don’t expect us to pick up news about every model that hits the streets as there are far better websites for that but if we see something special that might appeal to you ultra mobile computing fans, we’ll make sure it gets the attention it deserves. All the rest will go in the database so at least you’ll get a good overview and hopefully, with the details we have, the links to news and reviews, user comments and feedback from the various forums around the Internet, it won’t be too much of a difficult decision for you to make your purchase choice.

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34 Comments For This Post

  1. turn.self.off says:

    not everyone needs to drive a hummer to work each day…

    JLM Reply:

    I´m with you.
    Production problems are cost of sucess.
    The will fix it.

  2. dryfire says:

    It would not be surprising to see a bunch of players in the netbook market drop out, but no one will care as their products are essentially inferior copies of the few major players (asus, acer, dell, etc…).

    It’s not a huge issue that the internals of every netbook are essentially the same, but it’s sad to see so many simply copy and paste the sub-par eee keyboard onto their product, change the design of the shell and bring it to market.

    Where’s the netbook with a trackpoint/eraser head/nipple?

    Why do so many companies put the right shift behind the arrow keys instead of spending another ten cents to move them down and have full sized keys? Surely, I’m not the only one willing to pay extra for nice input devices.

    The things that really separate netbooks are the keyboard, touch pad, screen and weight.

    Sorry for the ramblings, I’m still half asleep.

  3. Declan says:

    I’m sure there will always be a race to the bottom with the netbooks. People will always want a device that is the best for what they can afford. But i think there will always be a market for consumers who demand a higher spec netbook than what is being provided to the masses. For example, a few months back I, and many others, were waiting for the Dell netbook to appear. When the specs were released and we all saw it was nothing special, we saved our money and either bought a better variant or we held on to our money. Now devices like the Gigabyte M912M are available, I can’t imagine buying anything other than a netbook with a touchscreen!

    I’m sure there will be more Everrun Note’s and Gigabyte M912M variants appearing in the future that will be smaller faster and lighter. People will want a small device they can do work on without drawing attention to themselves by carrying around an awkward and obvious laptop bag. Consumers are getting increasingly savvy with regard to specs and they pay more attention to the internet and what’s being said (case in point: me and the Dell/Gigabyte as above!!!). Plus there’s the one-upmanship that abounds with new devices. Apple brought out the iphone, then everyone else jumped on the bandwagon to produce better devices for other types of consumer.

    I use a laptop to DJ, and the thoughts of being able to do this on a netbook with a touchscreen is like a dream come true for me. The M912M is almost powerful enough to run my favourite DJ software, but I’m sure a few months a suitable device will be available that can do this for me. And I’m sure there are many other people out there who have their own needs who will drive the demand for better specced devices.

    Maybe netbooks are the new laptops, which were the new desktops!

  4. Sarig says:

    I seem to recall Sony stating they didn’t want to get into the market for several of the reasons mentioned here. Very good article Chippy :)

  5. davetweed says:

    I think you’re conflating two separate ideas. One is that the netbook form factor isn’t particularly “geek-tastic” (ie, it doesn’t make you involuntarily go “ooooh” when you hear it), and that within the netbook class you might get poor quality due to low margins. I’d hope that poor quality gets pointed out by reviews, in the same way that (in the UK) until the iPhone arrived there was really very little to differentiate phones but I’ve never heard of any friend who had a phone that was actually of poor build quality. But maybe the market won’t work with something with so many corners that can be cut like a netbook.

    In regards to netbooks suppressing development of geektastic devices, maybe it’s because I’m on a lower income than most gadget freaks, but I won’t plonk down the cash on anything that I can’t see myself actually using on a frequent basis. (Every so often there’s a umpc forum post saying “I bought device X, but find I don’t actually use it.”) However, I CAN be tempted to spend money on something expensive that I’ll actually use. The problem with most of the “innovative” designs is that they seem to me to be “technologically interesting” rather than “use case interesting”.

    If people doing computer development, and I guess I’m as guilty as the rest, can come up with something new you can do with a UMPC then R&D money will be found and buyers will buy them. (Something like voice interfacing combined with extensive geo-location databases.)

  6. Robert says:

    Greetings Steve:

    Personally I think the more the better.

    If there is more Netbooks out there, then that means there will be better prices.

    In this soft economy of ours, more Netbooks means more options, a lower price would be what people are looking for right now.

    Regards Robert from Montreal

  7. turn.self.off says:

    btw:

    “It is becoming an increasingly boring and uninspiring market. (But that’s probably just the UMPC-loving geek in me saying that!)”

    that would fit on the entire computer market since the release of win95, imo…

    these days its more about gradual refinement then impressive leaps of creativity. even the umpc fails because it cant really start over and fully adapt the computer to this new use, instead trying to reshape the existing in a gradual process, to not alienate the existing computing user base.

  8. Pixel Qi fan in waiting... says:

    1- Linux is here for the next 100 years (Linux as GPL software insures that and anyone, or any OEM, can get to market with a LINUX device much quicker vs anything else (the future HiVision $98 ARM based laptop is an example of that), without needed to see if Microsoft is going to pull a fast on on them, because of all the Linux applications that are ready now for many of those devices. Moblin and Maemo are supposed to synch up their apps so that they work on all kinds of devices. The development is happening in the Linux space. If they are not first, they don’t care, because there is no they, it is whoever wants to do this or that, and just do it (and because LINUX is even here now, on so many machines, is evidence of how Linux Development is being done)! Where was Linux on portable devices 2,3,4 years ago in the past, then look at this year! In 2,3,4 years into the future just imagine where Linux will be? Someone buying a computing device in that future time frame, might not even have to think what OS is running on it! If it does what they want, then that is all it has to do!

    2- Don’t need much power when mobile (your decision NOT to buy the Everun Note was an example of this). The trend in the past was to have more power, more features (Nicholas Negroponte, of MIT Media Lab, tell us this in this video at TED (he says enough is enough we need to use less power):
    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/nicholas_negroponte_on_one_laptop_per_child.html
    (see the 8:00 Minute Mark about laptops running slower and slower because of too much unneeded stuff, etc, that they wanted to have it run fast on less power, that’s it, duh)!

    3- Netbooks win because you can always use USB powered external storage and DVD/CD players or burners, don’t need it always along for the ride. I am waiting for the mini-dock stuff to come out that will do external storage and DVD burner in one device.

    5- Need a battery standard (meaning the insides of batteries need to have one standard so that people can pull apart their battery, put in AA or AAA batteries to replace when in a hurry or use those quick chargers for that). Problem with Netbooks is that they need 10 hour use times per charge. OLPC has a $10 replacement battery for their unit, the same is needed for all netbooks.

    6- Finally, The Pixel Qi (again not promoting them, and I don’t know anyone there at all…), is going to re-define the next revolution in the UMPC and Netbook space. Q1-Q2 of 2009 will start to see devices with these screens. The first ones to market with these screens, if they allow for proper under-clocking on the fly (Linux can do this from OS), then people will buy those in numbers first. Mobile needs to equal long battery life. OLPC really set the table with this tech, it is surprising that no one has yet followed OLPC and duplicated it with larger RAM (128-256 MB RAM works great with the very very fast CrunchBang Linux that is based on Ubuntu, but has a GUI that is lighter and faster than Gnome), and we also need a larger SSD (need at least 4 Gig). AND we need touch screen.

    Pixel Qi fan in waiting... Reply:

    Just need Flash Drives in Portable Netbook… and for storage use this:

    http://www.addonics.com/products/enclosures/AE25RDESU.asp

    –>”new Addonics AE25RDESU Portable Dual Drive RAID enclosure accommodates up to two 2.5″ SATA hard drives into a small package that fits easily in your hand. To enhance portability, the entire storage unit is designed to be powered by most USB ports*”

    * = they tested only 80GB 2.5 drive in this? But, there are many other huge capacity RAID or non-RAID external USB drive enclosures/drives boxes to store and work with data for portable devices (or to USB BOOT from…)!

  9. David says:

    I’ve always felt from the very start of the popularity of the Eee PC 701, that this is a great chance to not only get away from those very expensive tiny Sony Vaios to the masses but also a loophole to keep Windows XP around longer.

    Now yes, there are way too many of these Netbooks and a lot of them do have the same exact internal specs.

    Yes, this new category also exposed more people to Linux more than ever before.

    Thirdly, this gave a choice in a better price range (originally) and brought back the point of having a laptop (portability)! Tired of lugging those 6lbs 15inch laptops.

    Overall, this is only the beginning of this niche category, the CPU will get better, we get to keep XP around longer, and they’re lightweight!

  10. fixup says:

    Computer technology is perfected, now it is time to make it small and cheap. XP is perfect, why waste money on the Vista crap? If you want to pay more, $$$$ Sony is always there for you.

  11. ProDigit says:

    I think a good view of where the market could be going is the HiFi stereo market, and the MP3 player market.
    There was a time you could get a (crappy) MP3 player for free if you would just buy on one day over 100Euros in a shop like ‘Kruidvat’ or something.

    Stereo’s too. They had a bloom around the switching of the century (1999-2002). a lot of BOOM BOX stereo’s where created, with additional LF (Low Frequency) speakers; not particularly better sounding.
    And of course, Digital. Everything went digital.
    But look at it today!
    Today we are still selling the stereo’s of 5 years ago, with the exception of some that can playback from internet streaming sites.
    And every year the same stereo is been released, only this year it’s a silver edition, and next year a black one. His year with a green LCD,next year with a blue….

    Today,many people don’t even consider having a stereo in their house anymore, and more and more I see people being satisfied with an old stereo radio they gotten from someone, or a compact radio with Audio CD drive, which they very seldomly still use.

    truth is, there’s hardly any time anymore to listen; and money to buy a new one.
    Also there’s television with it’s LCD screens, and much of the audience prefers buying a larger TV than buying a radio.

    I think UMPC’s are about the same.
    One nearly everyone has one, it’s no longer special to have one, and the desire to buy one decreases (see PDA market).

    I guess with every product on the market you have up- and down seasons.
    I just hope we won’t lose our taste of music…
    And quite frankly speaking; perhaps Internet is the reason so many devices are being sold today.

    I can’t imagine what I’d be doing all day behind my pc (appart from work) without internet.

  12. Rich says:

    This keeps XP around. M$ has relented and now we have 160GB HDs. ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo have made it easy to add memory (or swap the HD for a SSD). Systems can be had with Linux and users are running hacked OS X systems.

    I didn’t have to spend $2,000 or more for a 3lb notebook that would fit in my over-the-shoulder boarding bag (other than a Dell D430 from the Outlet which would have cost twice as much as the 1000H.

    The 10″ display is adequate, I bought it to take on trips for reading email, checking flights, checking the weather, etc.

    Who cares if the keyboard is small or the right shift key is in the wrong place. I didn’t realize the Keyboard Police were giving tickets. I don’t intend to translate and transcribe all seven voulmes of Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past” from French to English on the 1000H.

  13. Fixup says:

    It is a very good thing that these manufacturers behind the big names finally can deliver directly to us. Now we don’t have to pay big tax to HP, Dell, and etc. HP, when it bought Compaq, killed iPaq, PDAs and smartphones (that stupid and short sighted woman), which gave HTC (who had been making iPaq for Compaq) a golden opportunity to offer us all the decent smartphones.

    Fixup Reply:

    If all the tax go into R&D, it’s good, but they all go into the pockets of extremely over-paid CEOs, or wasted in craps like Vista.

  14. Martyn Roberts says:

    In the photo what is the netbook with the red lid? I really want to know what it is…!

    Fixup Reply:

    That’s chippy’s daughter’s Nintendo DS gameboy, not a computer.

    Sam Reply:

    Martyn Roberts Says:
    October 3rd, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    In the photo what is the netbook with the red lid? I really want to know what it is…!

    OpenPandora.org could be the computer you wanted that Red one to be. Might not have quite enough RAM but demonstrates it’s entirely possible to have a super mini touch screen UMPC for £200 with super long battery life and super light. Google Android phone could be a decent enough small MID and Nokia 5800 Tube an even lighter one, if they can both sort out Flash Lite; plus you get more features (camera GPS phone 3G).

    Sam Reply:

    Nokia 5800 Tube should only cost £200 without contract: 3.2in touch screen 640×360, 104 grams, [ARM11 369MHz, 140MB :-(], 8GB micro USB, 3 MP cam + dual LED flash, VGA video rec 30 fps, TV out, powerful stereo, 3.5mm jack, HSDPA, WLAN, BT, FM, 1200mAh. Beat that!

    Sorry, not a UMPC but should be of interest.

  15. Dominik says:

    Great article Chippy! I already said that in my comment weeks ago and have been telling it to everyone that the whole netbook phenomenon took the industry back at least 3 to 5 years, especially in subnotebook market. Nobody is producing small powerful devices any more except maybe now Raon Everun Note, but it has crappy 1024×600 screen which is a step back.
    Currently I don’t see device that could replace my aging Toshiba U105.
    It was released in middle of 2005 and has
    7.2 inch 1280×768 screen (200dpi!)
    1.2GHz Pentium M with 2MB cache
    1GB of DDR memory
    60GB 1.8 inch HDD
    WiFi, Bluetooth, PCMCIA, 2xUSB 2.0, Firewire, VGA out, modem, 100M Ethernet, SD reader, docking base with DVD drive.
    It is 2008 and there is nothing on the market that comes even close to this spec.
    Netbooks FTL

    turn.self.off Reply:

    may i ask what you use your computer for?

    Dominik Reply:

    Well for starters email+im+web (yeah I know any crappy netbook can do this).

    But then

    Tethered shooting and image and raw processing when I am travelling. Raw processing needs lots of CPU power, image processing needs lots of memory. And both need hi res display.

    Programming.

    Compiling of programs, (and this is happening a lot since I am running Gentoo on it).

    Gaming, usually Neverwinter Nights.

    turn.self.off Reply:

    heh, photos (and given the comment about raw processing, DSLR), i was tempted to guess that beforehand.

    media work and programming seems to be the reasons people grab “muscle” laptops these days, for private use.

    Dominik Reply:

    LOL, we run out of reply levels?
    I have “muscle” laptop – Sager NP9750 with 2GB RAM, Athlon FX60, 17″ 1920×1200, 320GB+160GB HDD and Geforce 7800GTX. And it weights 12 pounds. So when I go on vacation I take little Toshiba with me.

    turn.self.off Reply:

    seems there is a built in limit of nesting on the comments.

    12 pounds? sounds like a collapsible desktop, not a laptop ;)

    turn.self.off Reply:

    err, forgot to ask how old that toshiba is.

    btw, the way i see it, when tech goes forward it can do one of two things, improve performance for the same price, or give same performance for the same price.

    the last 20 years its been doing the former, i would say its about time it starts doing the latter.

    the thing tho is choice, or providing both sides with what they want. sadly one cant have both, its either cheaper or more powerful.

    or maybe its 3 things?

    cheap, powerful, portable, pick any two…

    Dominik Reply:

    Toshiba U105 has been released in middle of 2005.
    Thats 3 years ago. Its a long time in computer industry.
    Since then laptop CPUs progressed from Pentium M to Core Duo and Core Duo II!

  16. Jerry says:

    People just don’t want to pay the high prices for tech anymore.
    This race to the bottom is a good thing, an evolution, as manufacturers need to get more efficient with R&D and their product offerings. They need to be smarter now, because consumers need to be “convinced” to let go of disposable cash and price is even more a convincer than branding. No more coasting by Lenovo, HP, or even Apple with times being how they are now. $1500 for laptops that do the same as $350 netbooks(plus $500 desktop if you need that power) is idiocy the mainstream buyer can’t afford today.

  17. Jerry says:

    I’m sure dynamism, moblix, and conics feel the pinch eh?

  18. Crastic says:

    I bought an Aspire One the other day for a mere $299 CAD (US). At that price, it’s disposable. If a newer model I like comes out in 6 months, I’m comfortably buy it. Or if it breaks, same deal.

  19. Realty says:

    I think you have to look at the long run. The technology in netbooks that allows them to be inexpensive will trickle up into the Notebook and even desktop world too. What little margin may result from the sale of an 8.9″ netbook will be made up with reduced cost of guts in 10 to 14″ laptops. I expect to eventually see these guts in low end desktop machines too.

    While this may drive Intel and AMD nuts because they want to sell higher end processors for larger machines. HP and Dell cant afford to ignore this new inexpensive processing architecture because it will result in savings in larger machines once they port over to it.

    Eventually there will be a line of Atom processors with faster speeds and more features and you will pay more for a netbook with hotter specs if you want too. The margins will come back even in the netbook market eventually.

  20. turn.self.off says:

    anyone remember that opening of the origami video of the teens or whatever joking arund with the handheld in the desert? thats what the netbook is.

    a inexpensive computer that one can pass around the table without worry. i would love to see anyone do that with something they payed 2-3 times more for.

    the netbook walked into the big group of people that have been eyeing the 12″ machines but could not justify it as it was portability that tempted, not computing power…

  21. dude says:

    An entry on engadget is not “press coverage.” Engadget posts EVERY SINGLE gadget that is new… regardless of whether it is interesting or not. EVERY camera, EVERY phone, EVERY rumor whether it is clearly false or not. This is because they want dozens of new entries every single day to keep people refreshing their pages and giving them hits. That’s the kind of website Engadget is. Almost 100% of their entries are about stuff other blogs are talking about right now.

    Netbooks are selling because that is what some people want. They don’t want 4 GB ram and 500 GB hdd just to read their e-mails and a few blogs.

    “It might look like a great time for consumers now but in two years time when we’re still getting run-of-the-mill devices with even cheaper components, cheaper batteries and cheaper engineering, we’ll wonder why we haven’t seen any OLED screens. Or next-gen batteries. Or high quality speakers.”

    No, it will always look like a great time for consumers who don’t want “high quality speakers” on a device for reading e-mails and blogs.

    Nobody “needs” a HUMMER or a Lamborghini to drive to a grocery store at 30 MPH to pick up a gallon of milk. Ask those people (most of the entire world) if they are happy that they have a choice between a Lamborghini and a Volkswagen.

  22. aehouseman says:

    Hey look. I got a minivan that I carry my stuff in, and a kayak on top of, an old muscle car (running and licensed), a moped, and a broken mountain bike. I got a skateboard on the garage wall, but I wouldn’t dare ride that thing without considerable chemical inducement.

    I am waiting to see the next 2009 Fit, and Yaris, and will probably get one of them unless Kia finally impresses me. (I like their 5 year warranty.)

    That is a Market driven thing and like that, if these computer items you mention are really wanted by enough people, they will appear like magic with and on the devices you want. If they aren’t wanted by enough people, then you will just have to wait until the next Market Cycle.

  23. focus says:

    I will say in few words what is the issue there:
    NETBOOK is KILLING UMPC!
    That’s all folks :)

  24. Patrick Fitzgerald says:

    There is a bank in Canada that has been giving away 7 inch eee surfs to new account openers.

    turn.self.off Reply:

    hmm, slap a custom encryption chip in there and it could make for a very nice specialized banking terminal ;)

    heh, do they allow foreign nationals to open accounts?

  25. Netbook Computer Fan says:

    Yes, change is in the wind. Remember how the prices of portable calculators dropped to the point of free or nearly free. There will be a bajillion of these netbooks laying around in drawers in a few years, with batteries that no longer hold a charge, and memory exhausted.
    The good news outweighs the bad with the advent of the netbook. Affordable technology is good, but cheaply (poorly) made is bad.
    The public will need to rely on computer reviews more than ever, as the market is flooded with netbooks!

  26. NoBlo says:

    i dont see the problem, it seems as though the people that do maybe have some sort of “special interests” they want to keep safe.

    there has been a lowend & highend full-size laptop market for many many years, the way i see it the ultraportable market is just finally catching up.

  27. benner says:

    The most remarkable thing about the netbook market in my opinion is how it reflects on the software market. It draws further attention to the incredible bloat in windows and to desktop software in general. The big winners in the netbook market I think are not so much going to be the manufacturers but those moving software to the cloud. It has also been a boon for linux and open source where people are trying to do more with less. After running slitaz and puppy on a netbook, I never want to go back to the desktop.

  28. Alexander Riedel says:

    Well, here is my view. Netbooks are a good, cheap notebook alternative for the masses. Bring the “personal” computer to every person. Unless you use it for a high CPU cycle consuming application, a netbook will do fine. I have a Fujitsu P1610 as my business machine (works fine for my use) and a Fujitsu U810 as a “travel” computer. I left PDAs and smart phones behind, PDA’s because of the lack of CPU power and smartphones because I need my phone to hold a charge for a few days rather than hours.

    Now, here is the kicker. I don’t take any computer for travelling anymore. My iPod Touch is the best PDA/mobile browser I ever had. Safari works well with most sites, I have music, videos, note taking, photo viewing, ebook reading, calendar, email, all in one tiny device.

    Netbooks are the last spasm of the notebook industry. Imagine 3 years from now everyone has an ipod touch/iphone style device (not necessarily from Apple), easy to use on the go and docked with larger screen and bluetooth keyboard at home.

    Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe don’t care what OS they have, as long as they can surf their favorite sites, get email and maybe IM. Multi-tasking? Just watch non-geeks use a computer. They don’t ;-)

    Put bluetooth in the iPod Touch and give it a dock with VGA out and you are there.

    Not affiliated with Apple and not particularly fond of Apple :-) But they got something there.

    turn.self.off Reply:

    i dont think apple will do that, but what your describing sounds like redfly.

    http://www.celiocorp.com/

    or for that matter a mid with a docking station…

  29. Judge says:

    Netbooks and Mids should all be priced in the gap between PDA’s and Laptops in the UK that means between £180 – £300. Most people compare netbooks to laptop and wont buy a netbook that is priced more than a laptop as people equate larger size and perfromance with better value psyhcologically (i.e no would buy a Mini that cost more than a BMW 5 series).

    If say the M912M sold for £299 I think it would sell by the shed loads more as people would see it as amazing value, the peerfect in-car pc with the added advantage of being a mini laptop. The problem with the current price of this and most Premium UMPC’s is they are priced to high (in laptop territory) where compared with performance on laptops they represent poor value for money.

  30. ecsk2 says:

    “There’s at least five versions of the MSI Wind out there now and the latest one is by a light-bulb manufacturer! ”

    I can only assume you’re talking about the Sylvania MAGNI.

    There’s a lot more to the Sylvania brand than the “Osram Sylvania” with your recent visit to North America I would’ve expected you would’ve run across more of the Funai Electric produced products branded as Sylvania:
    http://www.sylvaniaconsumerelectronics.com/index.php (see ABOUT US)

    Whereas Funai dates back to the early 60’s, Osram only got involved with Sylvania a decade and a half ago.

    So just trying to point out that Sylvania as a brand name is by no means associated with light bulbs (only) by the consumer(s) in the market(s) where this Netbook most likely will be marketed.

  31. R. Karen says:

    I don’t mean to be too in your face, but I’m not sure I agree with this. Anyhow, thanks for sharing and I think I’ll come to this blog more often.

  32. Michael says:

    Today you can find a relly god laptop for small price..

  33. Jessie Toy Story 2 says:

    Your topic s: Price today. Problems tomorrow? | UMPCPortal – The Mobile Internet and Computing Reference Site was interesting when I found it on Friday searching for jessie toy story 2″

  34. Roger Segroves says:

    This is a good site

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