I am not talking of your “Richness” Index to qualify under the Forbes Billionaires’ List. I am curious to know whether you’re a “Pocket PC” type geek, or in other terms, a Netbook aficionado.
Suddenly the Netbooks have become the talk of the town and you cannot miss bumping into them on a visit to any IT Retail Store these days. Going by the shipment figures available last couple of quarters, this category of laptops has shown very healthy growth amidst the gloom experienced by all other form factors of IT Hardware.
Why is this so?
Some obvious thoughts come to mind- it’s a new category, nascent stage product, just spiking from a zero base. However, It cannot be explained away just in a simplistic manner. For a long time, in the laptop segment, Ultra-Portable meant expensive stuff (US$1000+) which couldbe afforded by the CXO category only. For some HNIs, it was a fashion statement to own an Ultra-portable laptop and flaunt the “cuteness” like that of a person driving a “Smart Fortwo”. The advent of Netbooks has changed the paradigm of HW computing quite decisively. Overnight, the Ultra-portables left the tag of “for Class only” and became “a mass product” which can be touched by the millions at the bottom of the pyramid. A visit to your nearest Modern Retail store can bowl you over with the amazing stack-up of netbooks available – Display sizes starting at 7”, 8.9”, 10.1”, 11.6”, eye-catching shell colors and smart features (including touch-screen models)- all at crazy prices of $275 and above. They have undoubtedly become the hot cookies of IT Hardware.
What about the adoption of these netbooks in the Corporate segment ?
Well, many organizations are choosing netbooks for their mobile sales force. These mini-laptops will be enticing option for the enterprises as well, as CIOs shift more and more of their IT resources to the cloud and therefore the web-access becomes dominant in our daily lives. As per the recent AMI-Partners Study, 19% of the SMBs in India have the intention to purchase laptops in the near term. On the flip side, 59% of the respondents strongly felt the need for saving money for their company, due to limited budgets. In this scenario, netbook comes out as a clear winning proposition. It does not pinch your pocket to own a laptop anymore. You can flaunt your netbook in your back pocket and sashay in the fast lane, as one of the ads suggest.
S. Raghu is the Vice President-India & South Asia at AMI-Partners and can be reached at email@example.com