Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cricket’s $149 Android and the future $4000 Dell desktop

We are way past the tipping point if the no contract $149 Android phone is real [1]. The replacement for the $150 ChromeOS Netbook has come before the netbook, and Google’s $80 ultra-portable (with FM radio a cell phone too!) is a year ahead of schedule – though Microsoft’s lawsuits will slow things down.

After the lawsuits settle down the contract free low end iPhone will go for $250 in 2012 and Android will hit a billion users by 2013 (including China’s forked Android phone). By then RIM, Windows Mobile and so on will be history. Nokia and Motorola will make Android phones. Microsoft will be an IP parasite, a shadow of its former self.

So what about Dell?

Here’s where it gets funny. I’m used to thinking Dell will go away. After all, even today’s phones can have external monitors and keyboards. Who needs a Dell after 2012?

Well, verticals will. Software development. Servers.

Thing is, vertical gear doesn’t sell for $800 a pop. Remember what Sun workstations cost when Sun was profitable? Desktop prices are going to start going up, and up. By 2013 I expect Dell will sell far fewer machines – but they’ll be much more expensive. One day we will see the $4000 desktop, even as much of Africa carries a supercompter in their pocket.

[1] But what will it cost after the patent suits?

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