Netbooks Head for the $200 Range: Good News for Open Source
At this year's CES show, there was no shortage of netbooks, which have become a surprisingly strong challenge to the whole traditional notebook market. I remain surprised that more people in the open source community don't herald this trend as extremely positive for Linux, because Linux is making its way onto millions of netbooks and pre-loaded open source applications arrive with them. Now, there are reports coming in that one of the biggest attractions to netbooks--low prices--could get a lot more attractive.
As Christopher Null reports, the netbook market may be headed for some steep price cuts:
"Netbook pricing has been slowly creeping up over the last year as buyers looked for bigger hard drives, better performance, roomier keyboards, and larger screens. That feature creep means it's not uncommon to see prices well above $400 for entry-level devices. The folks at Freescale Semiconductor want to turn that trend around, offering a low-power chip designed to sip electricity while letting netbook makers offer devices for less than $200."
This is a perfect for trend for Linux netbooks to benefit from, since devices can ship with free operating systems and boatloads of free applications. Asus has already confirmed that it has its sights set on a $200 netbook, and that should keep the number of units it is shipping high.
Meanwhile, Asus' CEO also recently confirmed that rumors that buyers of Linux netbooks are returning them en masse are inaccurate. He says that the return rates for Linux and Windows netbooks are about equal. Look for Linux and open source applications to meet up with many new users because of all these trends.