Ultra-low-cost PCs to hit 1M in 2008

Ultra-low-cost hardware like Intel's Classmate PC will drive PC sales in the emerging markets like China, Indonesia and Malaysia, says Gartner.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Ultra-low-cost mobile PCs are set to boost the education sector's PC sales in the emerging markets next year, according to a new Gartner report.

The analyst firm has predicted the sales of these devices in the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia--namely China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam--to top 1 million units in 2008 and 6 million by the end of 2012.

However, these budget PCs are not expected to make an impact on this year's sales. Gartner said in a statement on Tuesday that volumes will remain limited in 2007 as the first units to ship will be "seed units used to test usage models and determine the usefulness of such devices".

Annette Jump, Gartner's research director, urged PC vendors to tap the new market opportunity by mid-2008. "PC vendors that target governments and education organizations in emerging markets should have a plan for a limited launch of their own-branded ultra-low-cost PC...or they will miss the early opportunities," she noted.

According to Gartner, the "classroom-focused approach" by Intel's Classmate PC will be more effective in driving the adoption of these ultra-low-cost PCs, compared to the OLPC (one laptop per child) initiative.

The analyst firm said the OLPC initiative focuses on the provision of devices to children who do not have access to PCs, while Intel's Classmate PC reflects a broader vision that encompasses the classroom environment, including networking infrastructure, teacher training and curriculum materials.

Luis Anavitarte, Gartner research vice president, said: "Hardware alone is not enough; users will need software and education applications in local languages."

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