Friday, March 28, 2008

Nettop, netbook, Mobile Internet Device, Blah

Yeah, there's lots of vapor in the air regarding "thin is in" low power, small performance mini notebooks and portable PC components. It would easy to grouse about how we've heard this before and when the air cleared the thing cost $2500 if you could buy it at all and was lame until you dropped it, at which point it was worthless.

The thing is, that story's over. Flash storage as a medium has matured and become much cheaper. You can get small LCD (or newer tech) monitors at ridiculously low prices because of economies of scale. The small LCD in the eee PC for example is used in point of sale equipment, digital photo frames, kiosks, and a number of other devices. With a low power processor that's also cheap the Bill of Materials on this equipment starts getting interesting.

At IDF in a few days the NDA's for lots of companies building platforms on Intel's Diamondville and Silverthorne (nee Atom) processors expire and we're going to see what kind of device the major manufacturers can build with a 0.5W - 2.5W processor that is very cheap, runs IA32 architecture and clocks at reasonable (1.8 GHz?) speeds. I think there will be more than a few surprises in store.

I'm going to speculate there are more than a few that are a decent laptop computer that costs about what consumers are currently paying for an MP3 player like the Zune or the IPOD. That's going to drive a lot of market in the third world. It's going to change a lot of things about the bottom end of the laptop market. Some of these things are not going to be computers at all, but they also will be really cool.

One thing's for sure though: If any of them run Vista, they won't do it well.

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