“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
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.”