Will Low Cost Ultra-Portables Affect High End Mobile Prices?

MeOver the last year or so there has been much talk about low cost computing solutions targeted at the education market and emerging nation markets. First there was the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) that was intially ballyhooed as the $100 computer. Then came the Asus Eee PC, (aimed somewhat at education, but also as a low price consumer model) which originally had a price target of under $200. Both prices climbed a bit in reality, (the OLPC to under $200, and the Eee PC to between $299 and $500.) Packard Bell is also weighing in, but at a little steeper price and that price seems to keep fluctuating a bit.

Om Malik asks the same question I’ve been pondering for awhile about these low priced portables. What impact will they have on the mobile computing market? I’m not sure and I think the jury is a long ways from giving a verdict. Although Asus is making a huge pitch during the upcoming holiday season. But, if these devices achieve any sort of market penetration at all (even in specialized situations) I’m sure some will take notice. Om thinks, and I agree, that the price point of the Eee PC qualifies it as an impulse buy, and if all you’re looking for is the Internet, email, and some light document work, it could certainly be an attractive option for those on a budget.


Intriguingly, yesterday, InfoWorld reported that adding Windows XP to the Eee PC would double the price of that device, which is a real puzzler.

What are your thoughts? Will these low priced alternatives have an impact? As they take advantage of open source applications, will this push open source solutions, and Linux, forward as a viable option? Remember, we’re going to see a lot more about Linux with the release of the MIDs soon.

It will all be interesting to watch.