Computer manufacturers turn to cheap mini laptops (part 1)


Low-priced mini-notebooks are storming the market . Following the success of marketing and, to a lesser extent, sales is reaping the Eee PC from Asus , many manufacturers have taken to make their own version of the cheap pocket computer . The small computer, super compact and relatively inexpensive , is bringing huge benefits to the Taiwanese company. And as was foreseeable, its competitors are preparing the respective alternatives to face it and thus stop this new competitor that can take away market in the low range . By the time summer arrives, several of the main manufacturers will have released their particular clone of this ultra-portable.

The problem is that by now Asus' invention will be a few months ahead of them . A few months in which a lot (perhaps too much) has been said on blogs and the media. An expectation that has not been reflected in sales either. Since its launch in mid-October of last year until January 1, some 300,000 units have been sold . A respectable figure but still very small if we compare it, for example, with the number of computers that the world leader sold in all of 2007 : almost 50 million machines. It is true that in Taipei sold out almost all the stock on the first day .But that does not mean that the brand's forecasts for 2008 will be fulfilled. Specifically, 3 ”™ 8 million , according to a company spokesperson. But, just in case, it is logical that the rest of the companies also want to come out with their own cheap laptop version, lest they take their piece of the cake.

There are several keys that have led to interest in this type of mini laptop . Used to paying between 500 and 600 euros at least for a laptop, a price of only 300 euros is in principle very attractive for the potential customer . Of course, it does not have the benefits that its older brothers offer, but it is not that it intends to unseat them . Because these ultra portables have a very defined user profile, who wants to perform certain basic tasks at any time .

Browse the Internet, write the latest entry in your blog, listen to music, send an email, write a document ”¦ these are just some of the many activities you can do with the Asus Eee PC and the like. Only, instead of carrying a team of 3 kilos in weight and more than 30 centimeters wide, it is all compressed in a little machine that almost fits in a fanny pack weighing less than 1 kilogram . If you are going to be traveling or spend a lot of time away from home during the week, these mini computers are a very comfortable option.

But these PCs are also very suitable for introducing children to the world of computing . What's more, since Negroponte's $ 100 laptop project is going nowhere, schools with limited budgets have become interested in real low-cost models (and not fictitious or speculative like Negroponte's). And next on that list are the Eee PC and its clones . With all the basic functions that students will need, while keeping investment to a minimum. If we count how many schools have requested the product and how many units each require, the accounts come out round . An illustrative fact:in California there is a school that has purchased 1,000 units at one time .

This success is not the result of chance. Asus has carried out a commercial strategy with the Eee PC that is as simple as it is effective: presenting a new product, betting very heavily on it and offering each user what they demand . In just a couple of months, several different models were already available, offering the customer the option of choosing the operating system (Linux or Windows), the storage capacity, the RAM memory ”¦ even the range of colors is much wider than any standard laptop. The new generation will have 9-inch screens , and it is even rumored that it could be touch .

The funny thing is that several of these models, the higher-end ones, lack the “low cost” condition . One of these computers with Windows Vista, a 9-inch screen and 1 gigabyte of RAM memory can exceed 400 euros, a price comparable to the cheapest laptops that we can find today . However, we insist that these ultra-mobile PCs play in another league. It is becoming less and less accurate to compare them to traditional laptops, just as they are not compared to desktop computers. They are just different categories .

And although looking at their technical specifications they may seem a little more expensive than the bill, it is clear that there are hundreds of thousands of consumers willing to pay their prices . It would seem that Asus has found its goose that lays golden eggs in the Eee PC. But as we indicated at the beginning, the big brands are not willing to be overshadowed by a new competitor. For this reason, below we will review some of those alternatives that manufacturers have implemented during these months . Don't miss out on our special cheap mini laptops ...

Photo: -eko-