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Gigabyte Technology, a leading producer of computer components and various electronics devices, said this week it also wants to product a low-cost notebook for emerging and well-developed markets.

The discount notebook from Gigabyte will feature Intel Basic Platform microprocessor and chipset and will have 7” – 9” display panel, said Richard Ma, a vice president of Gigabyte Technology, according to DigiTimes web-site. There are no details whether the low-cost laptop from Gigabyte features a hard disk drive, or a solid-state drive based on flash memory as well as the actual cost of the device.

Since Gigabyte unveiled no details regarding its new mobile product for emerging and well-developed markets, it can be assumed that the leading producer of computers and components yet has to develop the new device. Therefore, the claim to enter the rapidly growing market of low-end low-cost computer systems seems to be just an establishment of the fact that Gigabyte wants to offer a rival for Asustek Computer’s Asus Eee PC.

With Asustek, Microstar International, Gigabyte Technology and possibly other players on the market of affordable notebooks, the latter will have chances to become rather popular, as manufacturers are likely to boost functionality and performance of their systems to become more competitive. However, the competition on the market of laptops that are supposed to be very affordable will inevitably hurt profit margins of manufacturers, which are already low due to intense competition on mainboard and add-on-card markets.

Despite of enthusiasm regarding low-cost notebooks, its market prospects may not be as bright as some think today. While the product category of a low-end mobile system will indisputably exist, the market for such machines outside the developing countries may be limited due to performance and feature-set limitations of systems like Asus Eee PC.

Several years ago small form-factor (SFF) barebone PCs faced similar enthusiasm among early adopters as well as manufacturers. But nowadays SFF PC barebones are hardly popular. The same may happen to low-priced notebooks: some customers will find that they need more functionality, others will return to personal digital assistants/smartphones.


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