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Mini-notebooks are growing in popularity, but won't drop below $100 in the next three years

Gartner analysts have indicated the $100 laptop is not a realistic target over the next two or three years.  Companies are designing the $100 laptops mainly for schools in developing nations, but the finished products routinely cost significantly more than $100.

“The economic benefits of IT literacy in emerging markets are currently driving the push for the $100 PC but there are many open questions that remain,” said Gartner research director Annette Jump.  “These include determining the relevant hardware specifications, power availability, availability and cost of Internet connection, as well as providing adequate finance and payment options for emerging markets where funds may well be extremely limited.”

Growing demand and lower hardware prices will help drop the prices 10 to 15 percent over the next few years, but packaging, assembly and software costs are not likely to drop.

Companies focused solely on the $100 price mark have to also take into consideration infrastructure needs of the developing nations, including power grids and Internet networks.

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) foundation was the first group to publicly aim for $100 for its low-cost notebooks.  Its first XO laptop was released last year for $188, and OLPC said it plans to release the second generation XO for somewhere in the $75 price range, if possible.

A Taipei-based company called Carapelli has unveiled a new $130 laptop, the NPX-9000, which has a 7-in. screen, 400MHz processor, 128MB RAM, 1GB flash storage and wireless Internet.  But while it's a lower priced laptop compared to other competing products, it must be ordered in lots of at least 100.

The low-price laptops have not made a big splash in the corporate world, because of the lack of security features and other basic tools needed in the workspace.  But the consumer and education markets have seen significant growth and interest in the mini-notebooks, especially as the technology used in them continues to advance.

In the future, vendors need to begin to market low-cost laptops as "windows into the internet," rather than a laptop for businesspeople to work with.  The smaller and more compact keyboards also make it harder for adults to type longer documents on them, and instead should be used "for people to work, play, learn, record, report and communicate in any way they choose."  

“We expect to see increased product innovation in the PC market during the next few years,” said Ms. Jump. “Mini-notebooks will create opportunities to reach many buyers across all regions, both in mature markets as additional devices, and in emerging markets as PCs.”



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how about this one?
By nosfe on 7/29/2008 8:24:00 AM , Rating: 2
http://www.jointech.com.hk/jl7100.html

well, its slow as hell, doesn't even have a x86 based processor(runs on Windows CE) but it still is a 100$ laptop




RE: how about this one?
By wordsworm on 7/29/2008 9:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
Nice link. Truth is that I'm looking for something only slightly better. Plugging in a full sized keyboard and being able to sync it with my main machine for basic word processing is really the only thing that's important for me. One doesn't need a powerful CPU for that. Heck, I remember being impressed with what I could do when I had my 486DX33.


RE: how about this one?
By paydirt on 7/29/2008 9:37:10 AM , Rating: 2
Gartner must not read engadget :P


RE: how about this one?
By Radnor on 7/29/2008 9:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
i've seen Gartner making even worse errors. Or predictions.

Anyway i think it is doable. Windows CE, just use a ripped version of Linux and OOO. For what they are ment to do, they will do fine.


RE: how about this one?
By FaceMaster on 7/29/08, Rating: 0
RE: how about this one?
By johnsonx on 7/31/2008 3:46:03 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure that's legit? Those photos could just as easily be photoshopped Asus EeePC's, it's definitely the same chassis.


Who cares???
By Frallan on 7/29/2008 8:57:41 AM , Rating: 3
I don't care about a 100$ lappy

I wanne know when I can expect a 1000$ Gaming lappy




RE: Who cares???
By TimberJon on 7/29/2008 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 1
Funny about the $10 laptop...
http://www.engadget.com/2008/07/29/india-developin...

And there is a DIY Laptop, that I believe is less than $1000. DT should not be your ONLY destination..
http://www.ocztechnology.com/aboutocz/news/110


RE: Who cares???
By foolsgambit11 on 7/29/2008 1:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'll sell you my gaming laptop for $1000. It's the ultimate gaming laptop.... or, it was in 2003.

The whole point of gaming laptops is that they have the newest technology - so of course they're going to be expensive. The point of the cheapest laptop is to encapsulate the essential functions of a computer into the bare minimum of hardware.

Maybe you could drive a H3 to the store for milk, eggs, and flour, but some people realize a bike will let them get the job done, and a lot cheaper. And it's great to have the option.


large scale? wont happen
By vapore0n on 7/29/2008 8:13:57 AM , Rating: 2
Problem is, 3 months from release of a $100 laptop, the company will release an upgraded model for twice the price, and then again 3 months later.

Companies cant make money by giving away stuff.




RE: large scale? wont happen
By FaceMaster on 7/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: large scale? wont happen
By mindless1 on 7/29/2008 1:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
Only until there is significant competition will this be true. We see more and more companies looking at their options and some even designing, let alone selling cheaper and cheaper models. Initially the tiny laptops cost more for all the R&D put into them, and perhaps the novelty/rarity, but eventually less than a full sized laptop will.

True, companies can't make money giving stuff away but they can opt to introduce a new model at their low end that has costs cut in significant areas to the point where it costs significantly less, and less over time. Think about doing away with the hard drive, optical drive, less memory, completely integrated chipset with the processor on it, smaller battery, smaller screen.

To some extent I agree, a laptop viable for most of us, our most common uses at $100 is still 3+ years away. $200 should be a lot easier to hit.


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