If you believe some industry analysts, netbooks have no future. Tablets are taking over, they say, and budget ultraportables offer a much better experience for barely any more money. So, what are netbook makers to do? Drop prices and target other markets.
Western audiences may have traded their infatuation with low-cost notebooks to lust after touchscreen tablets, but other parts of the world have a need for cheap portable computers. According to DigiTimes, Intel has tweaked its netbook strategy to put a new focus on emerging markets like the Middle East, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Those markets will see netbooks even cheaper than the ones available stateside. The article says Acer, Asus, and other netbook makers are targeting a $199 price point with systems designed to run MeeGo Linux.
The $199 systems will presumably use less exotic Atom hardware than what's available in upcoming netbooks based on Intel's new Cedar Trail platform. Next-gen Atom hardware is expected to offer support for wireless display technology, among other features. Netbooks based on Cedar Trail are expected in the second half of this year, which just so happens to coincide with when DigiTimes says $199 systems will hit emerging markets.
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