Netbooks – ultraportable, low-cost laptops designed for Web browsing and functions of light – have taken the PC market by storm this year, with smaller computer companies such as Acer and Asustek Inc team leading the charge .
HP’s sleek new Mini 1000, costing about $ 400, is significantly different from the company NETBOOK the first release, which began last spring. It uses Intel Corp’s Atom processor, and is also considerably less expensive, noting that the price war in netbooks that some analysts have been predicting May have begun.
While still a fraction of the overall PC market, netbooks popularity could lead to changes in the hierarchy of the PC makers and cut into margins and profitability as average selling prices are reduced.
In the third quarter, Acer gained ground on HP and Dell Inc., with a large attendance of mini-laptops.
According to industry tracker IDC, the total Acer shipments jumped more than 50 percent, and the company’s share of the global PC market rose more than 3 percentage points to 12.5 percent.
HP, although it remains the best selling PC maker, saw its overall market share dip slightly to 18.8 percent, and is outsold by Acer in Europe.
Analysts said the company was affected by his delayed entry into the mini-notebook market.
Bob O’Donnell, Vice President of IDC, estimates 10.8 million netbooks will be sent in 2008, of more than 300 million PC shipments overall in the forecast for the year. It is expected that shipments NETBOOK to jump to 20.8 million in 2009.
Carlos Montalvo, Vice President of marketing in HP managed home business, said the Mini 1000 is a superior product to the second-and third-level “offerings of competitors, who said he had been” more streamlined “to the size and price , HP and the lack of consistency and quality.
Without releasing specific numbers, Montalvo said HP NETBOOK the first, which was aimed at the education market, was “phenomenally successful.” However, he said that the Mini 1000 is targeted at a wider audience.
The new NETBOOK begin to $ 399 for a version of Microsoft Corp’s Windows XP running, jumping to 549 dollars for a fully loaded model. The company first NETBOOK, the 2133, starts at 599 dollars and tops out at $ 749, offers a Via chip and runs Windows Vista.
HP will also offer a 1000 Mini that is running Linux for $ 379, as well as a special edition designed by the fashion designer Vivienne Tam for $ 699.
The netbooks all feature a keypad that is 92 percent the size of a standard keyboard, and will weigh less than three pounds.
NETBOOKS questionable role
Although Montalvo views of HP netbooks as complementary products that consumers own, in addition to his full-size desktop or laptop computer, analysts do not see necessarily in the same way.
Jayson Noland, an analyst at Robert Baird, said last week that netbooks place in the PC universe remains undefined.
“I do not think any of us knows yet whether it is a substitute product or complementary,” said Noland. “In some markets in a mature economy like the U.S. or Western Europe that could be complementary, and in an emerging market could be substituted.”
It is also uncertain netbooks impact on the balance sheet. O’Donnell of IDC expects to see a price war in netbooks, as companies seek to increase sales to compensate for low prices.
“If you’re at $ 300, then your profit margin goes, so you have to do in volume. Its purpose is primarily for high volume, low margin, and I think it will be a challenge.”
Noland said both HP and Dell have been a little late to catch the appeal of netbooks, but hopes to regroup without many problems. Dell introduced its first NETBOOK in September.
However, Apple has been openly dismissive of the product.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, in a conference call after the earnings of the company, said that the iPhone does many things that make netbooks, and said there were markets that the company is not only interested
“There are some customers who choose not to serve. We do not know how to make a computer 500 U.S. dollars which is not a piece of junk.”