Originally meant to be ultra low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs) meant to be either companions for smartphones or an inexpensive way to quickly check email or surf the Web, netbooks have gained both functionality and price, according to a recent study by Strategy Analytics. Moreover, those netbooks with higher specifications are gradually morphing into very functional, small, form-factor notebooks.
”The netbook market is no longer only a low-cost market for casual use, as highlighted by the shift in price tiers Strategy Analytics analysts have seen. Now available are a number of new models with higher specifications, and mobile broadband bundling, provided by companies like Sony which have enthusiastically entered this market,” said Andrew Brown, director of wireless enterprise strategies and author of a recent report by Strategy Analytics.
The average price of a netbook is now up to $456, while the most popular price point remains $349 overall. The average price of a Linux-based netbook now stands at $322, with the average price of a Windows-based notebook much higher, at $531. Over 40% of netbooks now even have 160GB hard disk drives. Both Dell and HP are shipping larger, 250GB versions, a trend that Strategy Analytics believes will be replicated by other vendors.
Windows-based netbooks remain the most popular product, with Windows XP Home the most dominant operating system with 55% operating system share. Linux-based netbooks stand at only 23%.
It is clear that netbooks based on Intel Atom processors even featuring advanced core-logic sets that can even playback high-definition video with 12” screens are attracting attention of the consumers with prices considerably lower than those of 12” fully-functional notebooks. As a result, a lot of consumers are unlikely to be completely satisfied with their performance as Intel Atom chip is definitely not meant for speedy computing or multi-tasking.
Although there are customers willing to pay extra for netbooks, general end-users want low price. Recently Toshiba Corp. started to sell 17” Satellite L355 laptop with Intel Celeron processor and 3GB of memory at just $348 price-point in the USA. Obviously, such a system is a much better performer than any netbook and other notebook makers are likely to follow Toshiba with introduction of their ultra low-cost notebooks.