<p>Since the introduction of Apple’s iPad in 2010, tablet PCs have been dominating retail shelf space and hogging buyer’s attention. So what are the good old laptops doing to catch eyeballs?
They are simply dressing themselves up. Sony, Acer, Dell, Lenovo, MSI among other laptop vendors are launching devices that flaunt color panels, customised software and hardware upgrades at affordable prices.
Saji Kumar, head (Product Management), Acer says, “This year, we have introduced products such as Aspire One Happy, Happy 2 series and Gorgeous by Nature series. Color is also an important feature that we have been working on and it is evident in our new range of laptops.” Acer, which has also launched its tablet PC series — Iconia — in India, believes that tablet PCs are showing “an increase in adoption levels” but notebooks will continue to grow and diversify.
Acer has also upgraded its laptops’ hardware to keep up with the competition from tablet PCs. Acer’s Aspire range of notebooks is now supported with Dolby Advance Audio to give users crisp sound outputs and has also launched a notebook with a 2GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce graphics processor for enhanced multimedia experience. Kumar says the Aspire series is also enabled with Clear.fi, Acer’s new media sharing system that enables users to easily share all multimedia content across a single system .
Sony too says that its brand Vaio was the fastest growing laptop brand in India with more than 100 per cent growth in the last financial year India (as per IDC report 2010). “We sold 250,000 notebooks in FY10 and expect to double that number by FY11,” says Sachin Thapar, head (IT & Mobile Business), Sony India. The company has widened its range of laptop offerings and strengthened the entry level portfolio with Vaio Y & Vaio E series starting at a price point of Rs 24,990 and Rs 27,990 respectively.
“Vaio Y is a casual mobile PC with a cylindrical design and has been made available in four attractive colours. It is ideal for casual users and PC beginners,” Thapar says.
CyberMedia Research estimates that tablet PC vendors are expected to ship over 100,000 units in 2011 in India.
Eric Kuo, general manager, MSI India pegs the second PC buyer market to be around 30 per cent of the PC base. While the company has recently launched tablet PCs in India, Kuo says after-sales service is the focus area.
Laptop manufactures have quite literally brought it all to the table, and not one ounce of design and innovation has been left behind. Bigger players like Lenovo and HP too have redesigned their consumer notebook PC portfolios. HP Mini series sport features like QuickWeb that allow users to connect and surf the web without having to boot up. An HD display, compact 10-inch screen, colourful front panels and weighing just 1.26 kg, HP Mini series compete for buyer’s attention alongside tablet PCs.
The Lenovo G570, an entry-level notebook with prices starting at Rs 28,690, has been redesigned to boast of features like multi-touch touchpad and a revamped exterior design.
Dell has taken to beautifying its laptops to keep ahead when it launched switchable lids for its new Inspiron line of notebooks earlier this year. Mahesh Bhalla, executive director and general manager (Consumer & SMB), Dell India insists that style aside, the new models will also sport Intel’s latest Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, a 13-hour battery life and up to 8GB of memory .