Monday, September 29, 2008

State of Mobile Computing

These days, we've been focused on smartphones and mobile devices like the iPhone and G1 with respect to mobile computing.  Regardless of which came you're in, these little devices pack a big punch.  Excel crunchers they're not but these phones and devices have the heart of lions.

But laptops and netbooks will not be denied as they are still the workhorses of most mobile warriors.  But given the economic instability and uncertain outlook, are the days of high-end laptops coming to an end?

After all, a netbook equipped with Vista, Windows, and Linux (and if you happen to hack your EEE PC to run OS X) are capable of doing 95% of all the tasks that one traditionally use a laptop for.  You can say 100% if you insists in running large Excel spreadsheets and going at a slow pace with large Photoshopping tasks.

Micrsoft Watch, a pro-Windows blog documented growth in the future will coming largely from netbooks as the units will go from over 5 million this year to about 50 million units in 2012.  Whatever the OS market-share is by 2012, this trend, which I largely agree with, may mean a couple of things:

  • Power average price sales for laptops/netbooks - not sure if "analysts" will lump the laptop and netbook into one big pot.
  • Price drop due to competition for revenue - not necessarily fighting over consumers
  • Shrinking revenue and may even knock one or two PC makers out of the market as due to stagnant growth. (Mergers)
  • Linux will gain shares at the expense of Vista.  XP may continue it's dominance.
  • Netbook costs subsidized by wireless providers for annual/biannual commitments for 3G access.
Suffice to say, netbooks are cheap, powerful, and improves mobility when added with big batteries.  And they are here to stay.  The landscape of laptops will change as a result.  We won't know if the laptop will welcome this new brethren or will have to compete with it on the open market.

So far, just about everyone has a netbook or two (or seven as in the case for Asus) except Apple.  I'm guess Apple will join the fight with a netbook of their own but something entirely different.  I do see them outfit a device with the iPhone and iPod Touch's OS with a bigger touch screen (and with a premium). 

Here are just some of the players:

Source:  Microsoft Watch

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