Friday, January 02, 2009

Disruption: Laptop, batteries not included

Yesterday I wrote about how laptops were finally going to track the price collapse of calculators. I figured we’d see $200 netbooks later this year.


Belco Alpha 400 Netbook | Gear Live

Belco is the latest company to unveil their netbook, the full-flash Alpha 400. It certainly is basic with its 7-inch display, 128MB RAM, 1GB internal memory, a 400MHz MIPS processor, a 10/100 MB Ethernet interface, and WiFi connectivity. It also has a SDHC memory card slot for another 32GB of storage and runs on Linux. Let’s not forget it works as an e-book, MP3 and game player and has installed business software. You can get the netbook for way-cheap. Try $169.95.

My prediction of Netbooks being sold by 2011 for under $75 (albeit with an exclusive install of “Chromestellation”) is starting to look a wee bit conservative.

So why is the price so low? The Belco Alpha 400 requires a power outlet.

Now, I realize this is hard to believe, but the reason I found the Belco was that it occurred to me that the most expensive component of a Netbook is not the crummy screen, it’s the hopefully non-exploding rechargeable LiOn battery. So I was searching on “Netbook” and “batteries not included”.

Some days the Singularity feels closer than other days.

A Netbook with a plug is silly, but watch for the Netbooks that are sold without a battery and without a charger. They’ll use either disposable batteries or standard rechargeables.

That will be the final sign of the big disruption.

Incidentally, there are rumors afoot of huge layoffs at Microsoft. If true those cannot possibly be justified by their current business situation – which is excellent. They could only be justified if Balmer et al believe the price of personal computing is going to collapse.

Update: So if Microsoft sells MSN and Live, can they get away with buying Comcast? Just an idle thought.

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