Considering just about every other laptop maker has entered the ULPC arena, it comes as no surprise that Sony's thinking about dipping its toes into netbooks as well. Sony exec Mike Abary told Laptop Magazine to "stay tuned" about the company's netbook plans, and added that "we are letting the pioneers of the market make the mistakes... We have to participate." What? You have to participate in creating a consumer product that's been key to keeping the PC industry from sinking with the rest of the economy? Crazy talk! [Laptop Mag]
Don't get me wrong; I'm an Apple fan, and if Apple put out a netbook (Macbook nano?) for $399 I'd snatch it up so fast your eyes would burn out just by looking from the friction I cause.
With that said, I can't see how anybody can be a true winner in this niche because... well, it's not a niche anymore, for one. Every PC maker and their cats want to participate in it. Second, by the very nature of this segment, they have to compete at a ridiculous price point. Face it, we all bitch about a netbook that's more than $499. But the tech that needs to go in it is pretty demanding, the CPU notwithstanding; everything has to be miniaturized, and I wouldn't be surprised if the cost of those tiny LCDs aren't so much lower than, say, a 13in monitor because of the sheer volume of the latter that get manufactured. They have to maintain a decent battery life, have enough ports and slots and have a decent keyboard that's as close to full size as possible, and yet have to be small, lightweight, and don't forget, aesthetically pleasing as well.
With those kind of taxing demands, there's no way they can churn up huge profits when they have to sell the damn things for $399 or lower. Especially when everybody wants in.
So it just might be a smarter move for Apple to stay out of this niche.