Small Form Takes Notebook World by Storm

DQI Bureau
New Update

A look at the current notebook market dynamics reveals a paradigm shift

in power, performance and form factor. A notebook weighing just about

2kg and has a screen size of less than 13.3 inch and a battery life of

four plus hours was once categorised as an ultraportable notebook. This

taxonomy was in vogue in early 2000, and in the last four years the

notebook market has undergone a sea change with 2005 seeing the

disruptive development of Intel launching its second generation

Centrino chip on the Sonoma platform that took the notebook battery

backup to new levels.   That set the tone for the

times to come where one saw the emergence of the dual core era that

ushered in power and performance never seen before.

All along the notebook industry banked on two aspects -form factor and
performance. But both of these aspects had struggled to co-exist in

perfection all these years. If the notebook was a performance monger,

it always looked bulky and weighed a lot. On the other side a slim

notebook prioritised a sub 2kg weight and an extended battery life and

an unreasonably high end user price and yet not fully functional.

It is in this backdrop, Asus launched its first ever netbook that
changed the rules of the ultra portable notebook market.  The

cheap no frills decent performance Netbooks offered all day computing

with up to eight hours plus battery backup and wireless made it a

gadget for the frequent executives-surprisingly the  Netbook

was initially conceived as a device for young adults like

school/college students.

But Netbooks shook the ultra portable notebook market and defied vendor
expectations and all vendors launched it following Asus with Dell

jumping in the fray recently. But with Intel Atom processor at its

heart Netbooks offered limited functionality but the ASV of just about

Rs 20K justified that.  Clearly the emergence of Netbooks

altered the consumer expectations on the form factor and increasingly

they looked at sleek and slim form factor notebooks and looked at

machines that are one step above the Netbooks with greater

functionality at lesser price. Here is where Intel’s Core

Solo Processors are emerging as the best fit. Core Solo is an ultra low

voltage processor from Intel that brings amazing battery life of eight

hours and best part is Core Solo machines can cost about just Rs 33K.

Take the case of Acer’s newly launched Timeline series that
has redefined the ultra portable segment from a price and performance

perspective. On a very thin form factor Acer has launched the Timeline

notebooks with Core Solo starting prices of Rs 33K. Yet another leading

trend in the recent times is the further maturity of 13.3 and 14 inch

screens and last quarter saw most of the vendors coming with high

definition screens. With lots of free hi-def videos on the web, a

high-definition screen makes for clear display and amazing video


Small form is the current marketing mantra for
vendors.   Even players like HP have recently

launched its ProBook notebook series with features that were once the

domain of its high price ultra portables. Dell with its Studio laptops

too is competing in this space. A look at all these developments

clearly indicate the changing buyer expectations and vendors’

emphasis on delivering new range of products that are redefining the

notebook market that’s becoming a portable gadget in the

strict sense-compact, functional and highly affordable.