The rise of subnotebooks
While the idea of ultra low cost subnotebooks was intended as a project for education purposes of third world countries, everyone seems to be chipping in into what’s likely to become a new battlefield for manufacturers.
The whole concept started with the OLPC. They wanted a portable, durable notebook with enough features to provide multimedia and interaction and long-lasting batteries at a dirt-cheap price.
While the OLPC runs into a financial wall, other PC makers are chipping in on the booming market. Asus, Fujitsu, Lenovo, Gateway and Intel are the most well known entries into the subnotebook market with Asus’ EEE currently the most popular. Although they did not intend to do so, Asustek’s subnotebook is now the primary competitor for the OLPC with one government placing orders for 1 million units.
What’s with the subnotebook popularity?
Cost is the primary feature that makes subnotebooks so attractive. Unless you’re a gamer or a poweruser who really needs a high spec notebook to do your work/play games, a lightweight, ultra portable notebook is a likely and productive option. Much more if the price is as cheap as high-end cellphones.
Because of this, manufacturers will opt for innovative technology on their products rather than just flashy features (like an Ultra Low voltage processor, a low power screen, SSDs for storage etc) while trying to keep the price at the barest minimum. More bang for your buck right?
Durability, usability and battery-life also contribute to the subnotebook’s fame.
Many people do complain however about the low storage capacity of subnotebook, Asus’s EEE for example will max out at 4 GB. While they are vouching for storage increase, I think it’s better to keep it at a minimum. That way, ultra portable notebooks will not suffer from issues like power consumption for platter-based drives and cost for solid state drives.
Who’s to benefit from all this?
The consumers if that’s still not obvious at this point in time.
With upcoming technology like Intel’s Diamondville, units are likely to get more advanced and while maintaining a price range that people from all walks of life will appreciate. Give or take a few months, we might even see something like Dell’s Latitude XT enter this market but that’s probably wishful thinking.General Computing, Linux, Notebooks, UMPC