Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Google branded netbook is coming in early 2010

This rumor is mostly about the Google phone, but that's not the interesting part (emphases mine) ...
There Really Might Be a Google Phone. No Seriously!

... According to Kumar, Google will embed the same iteration of Android as the one currently being used in the Motorola Droid and the device will be based on Qualcomm baseband chips. Google will also introduce its own branded netbook, again embedding Qualcomm Snapdragon, early next year...
That's Google Chromestellation, a version of this netbook will probably be sold through Verizon -- "free" with a 2 year data services contract.

Update 10/23/09: By chance I came across a post I wrote in 2004:
InfoWorld: Wal-Mart breaks price barrier with Linspire Linux laptop

Wal-Mart is offering a laptop that dives below the $500 pricepoint, and it's no accident the machine, from Linspire, runs a Linux-based operating system.

The Balance laptop, at $498, enters a mass market at a price that will undoubtedly accelerate Linux adoption.

The laptop comes with the OS, Internet suite, and Microsoft-file compatible office suite and can be used with both dial-up modems and broadband connections. The machine comes with a VIA C3, 1.0 GHz processor, 128 MB of RAM, which is expandable up to 512 MB with SODIMM (Small Outline Dual In-line Memory Modules). It includes a CD-ROM drive and a 14.1-inch LCD screen...

... The laptop's included Mozilla Internet suite comes with a fast-functioning browser and email program that can display Web-based forms, PDF documents, images, and multimedia files. The suite's included instant messenger program works with AOL, MSN and Yahoo logins.

No-one makes money on desktop machines. I recall reading that if one excluded the kickbacks Microsoft provided Dell, that they lost money on their best selling desktop machines. Laptops were different -- they still had a solid margin.

Not any more. Only Apple will be able to demand a premium for their top selling entry-level laptops, and the iBook may drop to $900 or so. Updrade this thing to 512MB and hook it up to a monitor/mouse/kb and there's a very compact and virus-free machine for my mother to use -- with gmail for her email.

So five years ago I predicted that only Apple would be able to demand a premium for laptops (sort of true, but I was thinking 1 year) and that the "iBook" would drop to $900 (MacBook is now $999 - but this isn't 2005).

I think I'd better temper my Netbook optimism a wee bit.

Update 11/20/09: It's late 2010 and it won't be cheap?! Wow. I sure missed this one!

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