Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Devices are a Changin

When the economy and consumer spending slows down then hard choices usually follow. We all may want the biggest and most expensive, but when given a reality check, common sense often prevails. PC PRO today reports that the shift to spending on netbooks is continuing apace and that they now account for three out of ten consumer laptop sales in Europe.3.6 million netbooks were sold in Europe in the last quarter of 2008 and Western Europe accounted for more than 80% of overall European sales. Acer with 30.3% and Asus with 28% dominate the market with the likes of HP. Dell and Samsung collectively only having some 17.9%. Clearly consumer are deterred by ‘cheaper’ and newer brands and the ‘old guard is slowly changin’.

What is interesting is that the demand todate has been predominantly consumer driven but as notebook specifications improve, 3G is integrated, the screen size increases to 10” and times gets tighter it is easy to envisage notebooks exploding onto the business sector.

Asus has already stated that it will have a Eee PC with touchscreen running on Windows 7 by the summer. As we have written many times it is now easy to predict that the consumer media battleground will be between the notebook and smartphone. The laptop will survive but will be the heavy duty engine and its portability become less appealing. Dedicated media players such as games will have to fight on the enriched experience ticket and ereaders will suffer as they become marginalised and become increasingly one dimensional, eink constrained and neither one think or the other. The other big threat to the ereaders is that you can do what they do on every other device but they can’t do what ever other device does.

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