Summer pricing for consumer laptops demonstrates why Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer, and Toshiba continue to beat Apple in shipment numbers--ergo, popularity.
Apple has stuck to its pricing guns, refusing to go lower than $999 on laptops. And that may indeed be a solid business strategy, but it also means that inexpensive PCs remain extremely popular with consumers.
As a yardstick, we'll use the Apple $999 MacBook--what Apple calls "the notebook for everyone." At $999, that's not quite everyone, especially when you put it up against the PC competition. The 13-inch MacBook specs include a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics processor, a 250GB hard disk drive, 8x DVD-R DL/DVD-RW drive, Webcam, and Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.
So, what can you get for less than $999? A lot. Here's the evidence.
Exhibit No. 1: $299 Toshiba Satellite: Model C655-S5049 includes a 2.2GHz Intel Celeron 900 processor (single core), 15.6-inch display, 2GB of memory, 250GB hard disk drive (HDD), DVD-RW/CD-RW drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Granted, you only get a single-core processor (like the Apple A4 chip in the pricier iPad, by the way) but you can't bicker too much when it's priced at $299 at Best Buy.
Exhibit No. 2: $399 Dell Inspiron: Model I1545-3232OBK (Best Buy) includes a 2.3GHz Intel Pentium processor T4500 (dual-core), 15.6-inch display, 2GB memory, a 250GB HDD, DVD-RW/CD-RW drive, and Windows 7 Home Premium. Essentially, a hundred bucks more than the Toshiba, which gets you a faster dual-core chip and… Read more