Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Nokia netbook and its possible impact on Apple

Disclosure: I used to work for Motorola. Another disclosure: both my father in law and I have hosted Finnish exchange students. Yet another disclosure: my work cubicle is sloppy.

While price doesn't have everything to do with netbook popularity (small size is a good thing in certain circumstances), it's obviously a major component of netbook attraction.

Well, details about Nokia's planned netbook, which I previously discussed in August, are coming out. BusinessWeek reported them:

On Sept. 2, Nokia announced the specs of its first netbook, the Nokia Booklet 3G. The netbook, which comes with a global positioning system and runs Nokia mobile services, will cost $819. Most analysts I’ve talked to expected it to cost less than $500, which is the price of premium netbooks today.

And Internet Evolution, for one, is re-evaluating the new Nokia offering based upon its price:

As I wrote in late August, the Booklet looks nice. But with the specs and cost revealed, it won't compete based on the unsubsidized price.

I've been toying with the idea of buying a netbook and effectively using is as a replacement for a smartphone. Perhaps because of my recent hard drive problems with my desktop computer, I'd almost prefer a netbook with a solid state drive rather than a disk drive. But I don't want to skimp on RAM; there are two computers in my house with 1/2 GB of RAM, and that's with Windows XP (not Vista). I'd like some hefty RAM on my future netbook. So this wasn't encouraging:

The Booklet has 1GB of RAM, and I don't think it can be increased. Many netbooks come with 1GB, but you can upgrade to 2GB.

I'm pessimistic on its chances, but we'll have to wait and see what the market says - and what Apple does in reaction to the market's reaction to Nokia's netbook. If the netbook takes off despite its price, then Apple's product direction will be validated. If Nokia's netbook tanks, then Apple's insistence on pricing high may need to be re-evaluated.
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