The news that Best Buy is going to be selling iPhones as of September 7 isn’t the point of this post. That news does raise an interesting question though. You can certainly say that the iPhone has already become a sales success so Best Buy isn’t really taking a gamble here at all. But will OEMs and Best Buy (as well as other big box retailers) be making the same moves with NetBooks (or whatever you want to call them), MIDs, and other smaller devices? My recent experience at Circuit City where you couldn’t find the Acer Aspire One, even though it was on sale, because it was too small to fit the current lock down system for notebooks, makes me wonder.
Whether it is an iPhone, a NetBook, a MID, or a UMPC (don’t laugh) these devices need to be seen, and yes, held, by consumers. Part of the sell, and part of the attraction is the diminuitive size and how the device feels in your hands. Will these devices have to provide some sales traction before they hit the Big Boxes? Or are the profit margins so small (especially on NetBooks) that no one can make enough money to justify the shelf space?
Some may say that the popularity of the iPhone in Best Buy may preclude others from jumping into the competition. I think it is an big opening and opportunity, if they want to go for it.