In Thailand, the mean price of a new mobile phone purchased by a bottom of the pyramid user is USD 96 and a used phone costs USD 38. In this context the whole idea that a laptop designed to connect with the Internet will cost USD 49-99, is mind boggling. This will make our thesis of a mobile-centric path to the Internet that much more realistic.
And wireless phone carriers might well start calling them something else entirely as they race to begin selling laptops with bundled data plans directly to consumers.
“We have been flying the carriers around the world,” said Michael Rayfield, the general manager of mobile products for Nvidia, one of many chip companies producing parts for these new laptops. “They all want to meet the manufacturers and come up with their own look and feel.”
A 30-person company called Mobinnova worked with Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn for just four months to make what amounts to the thinnest, most power-efficient laptop for the carriers. Called the Elan, the Nvidia-based device can run for up to 24 days on a single charge if it is just playing music or run for 10 hours straight playing high-definition video.
Mike Holland, Mobinnova’s vice president for business development, said that one telecommunications company, which he declined to name, will start offering the product before the Christmas shopping season at a price of $49 to $99.