Cheap German notebooks use desktop components

System Builders Summit, Monte Carlo What is a good way to slash notebook prices and grab market share? Well, one way is to build them using desktop components like German outfit Gericom. (How weird is that name - sneering xenophobic Billy Britons couldn`t have come up with a better one for a discount German PC manufacturer.)

The next step is to punt them out through discount supermarkets like Aldi. Apparently they sell well, but Gartner analyst Ranjit Atwal, think they're not going to be the next big thing.

Unsurprisingly, the big names in laptops aren't going
down this route; but maybe that's why more than 50 per cent of the German mobile computing market is held by no brand and second-tier system builders.

"The major vendors don't think it's a big move in the market," Atwal said. "And besides, what kind of mobile is it?"

According to Atwal, the trend across Europe is for the top five manufacturers to lose market share. At the start of 1998 they controlled 75 per cent of the notebook market. In 2001 this has dropped below 60 per cent.

Atwal was addressing a herd of European PC makers, at the System Builder Summit in Monte Carlo, so he had the right crowd-pleasing song for his audience. However, he cautioned them to prepare for a slowdown in the notebook market. "The mobile market will grow, but not at the levels we've seen," he said. "Desktops will continue to be the major market."

But he does think that the growth of the PDA market has not affected notebook sales; PDAs are complementing desktop sales, he reckons. This is rooted in his idea of why people want mobile computers and how mobile did they want to be. "The PDA gives a desktop user a bit of mobility," he said.

In Q1 2001 612,000 PDAs were sold in Europe, compared with 1.9 million mobile PCs. ®