While the U.S. economy remains in a recession and the CES expo has been scaled back, PC vendors such as Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are using the show to highlight new laptops and mininotebooks for consumers that are thinner, lighter and much cheaper. At the same time, AMD and Freescale Semiconductor are launching platforms that look to challenge the market that Intel has created with its Atom processor.
At the CES expo, it's all about laptops, ultraportables and mininotebooks.
When this year's CES officially kicks off Jan. 7 in Las Vegas with Microsoft
CEO Steve Ballmer delivering the
opening keynote address, PC makers such as Lenovo
and Hewlett-Packard along with companies such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices,
Freescale Semiconductor and Qualcomm are offering their visions for
next-generation laptops that are lighter, thinner and more affordable than
For instance, HP
and AMD combined together to offer the HP Pavilion dv2,
1-inch-thick laptop that costs less than $700 and offers a new AMD notebook
platform called "Yukon." With this laptop, HP and AMD are looking to
carve out a space between full-featured notebooks with 15- and 16-inch displays
and the mininotebooks or netbooks created around the Intel Atom platform.
unveiled a number of new laptops
that range from the 16-inch IdeaPad Y650,
a fully featured laptop with the latest Intel processor technology, to an
updated version of its own mininotebook, the IdeaPad S10, which uses an Intel
Atom chip, has a 10-inch display and costs less than $350.
Click here to take a look at HP's new notebooks.
Then there are those companies that want to create their own market for the
types of netbooks and mininotebooks that use the Intel Atom. The first is AMD
with its Yukon platform, but
other chip companies, such
as Freescale, with its i.MX51, and Qualcomm, with its Snapdragon platform,
to offer consumers netbooks that cost less than $200, run on ARM
processors and support Linux. Texas Instruments is also searching for its place
in this new landscape.
The fact the laptops and mininotebooks are hot items at CES should come as
no surprise. In December, research company iSuppli
released a report showing laptop sales
have now finally outstripped desktop
sales, which should make notebooks even more important to business buyers and
Just before the CES expo kicked off, Forrester Research released a report
that found that 34 percent of those surveyed were interested in a netbook as a
second or third PC, while 23 percent thought a netbook or mininotebook could
replace a more expensive laptop.
"We are seeing thinner designs at every price range," said Richard
Shim, an analyst with IDC.
"We are also seeing a trend toward lower prices," Shim added.
"There are couple things driving that. The first is this trend toward
mininotebooks, and they are gathering momentum and market influence. The second
trend is the economy. So what we are going to see in 2009 is more price
adjustments and consumers will adjust their attitudes toward what a notebook
Still, getting consumers and even business buyers interested in these new
platforms, laptops and mininotebooks could prove more challenging than in past
This year's CES expo is expected to be smaller than the 2008 show,
reflecting the recession in the United States
and the gloomy financial picture for the rest of the world. According to
Reuters, there are 2,700 exhibits planned for CES, down from 3,000 in 2008. In
addition, about 10,000 fewer people are expected to attend the 2009 show, according
Then there is the matter of the Macworld
Conference and Expo, which kicks off Jan. 6
and has managed to steal the
spotlight from CES in the past. In addition to the usual buzz surrounding the
show-Apple released a 17-inch MacBook that it calls the world's thinnest and
CEO Steve Jobs' recent disclosure about his health
and the fact that this
is the last Macworld also mean that more eyes are now focused on San Francisco
than Las Vegas this year.
However, those obstacles have not stopped PC vendors. For example, HP
released its Mini 2140 notebook Jan. 6. While this notebook, which offers an
Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz) and a 10.1-inch display, is typical of a
netbook, HP is positioning the Mini 2140 as a laptop for enterprise and
Unlike some other netbooks and mininotebooks, the HP Mini 2140 offers
configurations that resemble a more mainstream business laptop. These include
2GB of DDR2 (double data rate 2) main
memory, a 160GB hard disk drive and a tough aluminum casing. In keeping with
current trends, HP also kept the Mini 2140's weight to only 2.6 pounds.
What HP and others are trying to do is expand the
audience for these mininotebooks in order to cash in on the current trends.
Right now, IDC is predicting that 18.9 million mininotebooks will
ship in 2009 and that number will jump to 32.6 million by 2012.