With the plethora of new 4PC's (computer power, performance, price, and portability perfectly suited for the developing world), coming out of Computex this year, you might be wondering who is the current market leader. Personally, I would have to say its Asus with its popular Eee PC line.
Now that may surprise those that know me as a One Laptop Per Child fanboy, but as I told the Economist in its article "The rise of the low-cost laptop":
By raising the very possibility of a $100 laptop, the XO presented the industry with a challenge. Wayan Vota, founder of OLPCNews.com, an independent website that follows the project, calls the XO a "harbinger of an entirely new class of computers".As such a harbinger, OLPC took the concept of 4P Computing, first conceptualized by the Simputer, and made it a practical reality with the XO laptop. But in the many missteps we chronicled on OLPC News, it never really commercialized its lead.
Asus has. It took Nicholas Negroponte's basic "$100 laptop" idea, and according to PC Magazine's "Asus Makes Another Eee PC Wave" article, commercialized it beyond anyone's expectations:
"We forecast sales of Eee PCs to double to 10 million units in 2009 with growing demands from both developed and emerging countries," said Jerry Shen, the CEO of Asus. According to a recent report from IDC, Asus shipped around 1.4 million notebooks in the first quarter of 2008 and ranked No.8 in terms of market share.Now this doesn't mean that Asus will be the 4PC leader of tomorrow. In fact, the mantle may shift as early as this fall, as other players enter the market. Rumors and reality have everyone from HP to Dell to Toshiba, along with several come-from-nowhere candidates (like Asus, 6 months ago), jumping into the fray.
"In terms of worldwide shipments, it is the first time for a Taiwan IT brand to create such a huge impact in the global market by a single product," said Dickie Chang, the Personal Computing Solutions Analyst for IDC.
Only one thing is certain: The XO and its direct competitor, the Classmate PC, are, sadly, not going to be in the lead.