Everyone knows that PCs get faster and cheaper every year. For a while the shift to laptops seemed to slow things down a bit, but those days are over.
Laptops & Desktops
John Morris and Sean Portnoy deliver straight talk about notebook and desktop computers.
John Morris is a former executive editor at CNET Networks and senior editor at PC Magazine.
Sean Portnoy is a former executive editor at Computer Shopper magazine and editor at CNET Networks.
The tech industry is always looking for the next big thing: Bing is gaining on Google, the Palm Pre will dethrone the iPhone, and so on. One of the latest "next big things" is the duo of ARM and Android which, if you buy the hype, will wrest the PC industry from Wintel's grip.
Despite all of the hype about ARM-based smartbook and Android netbooks, you had to look pretty hard to find them at Computex 2009 in Taiwan this week. Ultra-thin laptops based on Intel's new ULV processors, however, were all over the show floor.
AMD has many challenges, but lately its ATI graphics business has been on a roll. Now the company is trying to capitalize on the momentum.
Intel announced its latest ultra low-voltage (ULV) processors at the start of the Computex trade show in Taiwan this week. The announcement was no surprise: Intel and computer makers have been talking about the chips (previously known as CULV for "consumer") for months, and in April MSI even announced a laptop, the X-Slim series X340, supposedly based on one of the new ULV chips.
Intel thinks business may be starting to pick up, but computer makers aren't as optimistic. Sales are slow in all categories and even Intel now concedes that one bright spot, netbooks, is cutting into sales of higher-priced laptops to some degree.
The battle over the role of netbooks appears to be escalating. Computer makers, aided by Nvidia, are broadening the features and performance of netbooks--adding larger displays and more-capable graphics.
No one claims that netbooks can match the performance of laptops that cost hundreds or even thousands more. The real question is whether the performance of a netbook is good enough.
There is no denying the popularity of netbooks, but there's still much debate about who's buying them and for what purpose. Netbooks were conceived for emerging markets--along the lines of the OLPC's XO laptop and Intel's Classmate PC--but they turned out to be more popular in developed countries.
When Asus announced the first netbook back in June 2007, the company said it would sell for $199. That turned out to be too optimistic, but two years later prices are really starting to drop.