According to CNET, HP is diving headfirst into the Netbook market. The interesting part of the article, though, is not so much about HP, as about netbooks in general, and how they are being marketed in Europe and Asia:
It’s a dramatic increase, and the difference is all coming out of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), where Asus and Acer have been incredibly aggressive about their Netbooks, the Eee PC and Aspire One, respectively. Of the 10.9 million units that are estimated to ship worldwide by the end of 2008, 8.1 million will go to EMEA, says IDC.
Acer and Asus have done well in the region, as evidenced by Acer’s quick rise to the top of the portable PC market there. But they’ve been aided by local telecom companies, who are subsidizing Netbooks in exchange for a signed wireless service contract. It’s a model that in the past few months has thrived in Europe.
Dell signed up Vodafone for this kind of deal on its Netbook, the Inspiron Mini 9 in September, but HP’s mostly been on the sidelines in this regard, and representatives for the company haven’t indicated if a similar deal with wireless providers are in the works.
Wireless service contract to subsidize a Linux-based device optimized for mobile Internet access. Other than the physical size of the device, how is this different from Android (and, Linux notwithstanding, the iPhone)?
At some point in the near future, somebody is going to put Android on a netbook-class device, and the shape of the future of client computing will become clearly visible. And the day that happens is the day that Microsoft’s desktop monopoly will be truly broken.