Mini laptop or the Netbook, as they call it, is light and handy, energy-efficient and cheaper than a standard laptop. But would it really popularise computer usage, the way cell phone did our telecom network? There aren’t very many households in India that don’t use cell phone.
Considering the value for money, the market expects Netbooks to grow, not only in metros but also in Tier-II and III cities. The targeted customers for Netbooks will be students, says L. Ramprasad, vice-president, Transactional Consumer Sales, Lenovo India. The mini, they say, would be available for Rs.23,000 to Rs.25,000.
The price may not be much for a computer; but it’s still much, period. The price needs to be lower, for average urban households to get interested enough to go in for the gadget. Most Internet users rely on their office system or go to the neighbourhood Internet kiosk to check mail. Unlike the cell-phone , the Netbook is unlikely to widen the Internet reach and penetrarion. The cell-phone caught on, in slums and swanky suburbs alike, because of pricing plus product positioning. Price range of cell-phone varies from Rs.3,000 to Rs.30,000. Our domestic help picked up a used one for Rs.1,000.
I can’t see her using a computer, which still remains priced out of much of our population. Affordablity is an issue even in middle-class households, with competing product priorities and demands on their rupee. Rs.23,000 is still much for them. Make it Rs.10, 000, and you’ve scope for widening the broadband reach in our country.
I bought a mini-laptop for $200, Taiwanese ASUS-Eee PC, in the US, months before recession set in. I don’t know how much they sell it for nowadays. When I went in for the mini-laptop it wasn’t available in stores. Interested customers had to order it online and the laptop was Fedexed to your place from a Target warehouse. Such elaborate procedure was , presumably, a promotional drive before they place the product in the market.
The mini-laptop is okay, and eminently suited for the use of the likes of yours truly. I blog with it, Google, send and get e-mail, Skype, transfer photos to computer from a digital camera, and use scanner . But I can’t play video-game or burn music CDs , which are the features most students look for in a laptop . Pricing is unlikely to be an issue with students who can’t do without such features. My only problem with the mini laptop is the screen size. I got round it by connecting my laptop to an old desktop screen.