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(Japanese Site)

  • Portable PCs Priced Less Than US$2,000 Become More Popular
  • June 17, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Producers of personal computers are updating their lines of notebook PCs, which are rapidly replacing desktop PCs in the Japanese market.
    Most notable in this overall trend is the expansion of the market for sub-notebook PCs as small as B5-size for portable use.

    Sony Corp.'s slim and metallic Vaio PCG-505 model has enjoyed strong sales in recent months. In the summer sales campaign, NEC Corp., Toshiba Corp., Sharp Corp. and other PC makers are planning to launch products to compete directly with Sony's successful sub-notebook.

    These sub-notebook PCs are priced less than 300,000 yen (US$2,050), and they hold strong promise because their market segment comprised only about 20 percent of the total notebook market in fiscal 1997.

    Notebook PCs that are the size of A4 paper and designed for the replacement of desktop PCs are expected to lose force in the market, analysts said.

    Specifically, the odds are against notebook PCs with retail prices higher than 400,000 yen (US$2,740). Such PCs are equipped with top features, such as thin film transistor-liquid crystal displays (TFT-LCDs) from 13.3-in. to 14.1-in. and Intel Pentium II microprocessors. But they are at least 100,000 yen more expensive than desktop PCs with LCD monitors and similar specifications.

    Some PC makers, including Akia Corp. and Sotec Co., Ltd., which had featured high-priced notebook PCs as their mainstays, have decided against launching new high-priced notebooks. They are facing the need to reconfigure their strategies. For example, Sotec will move toward desktop PCs as its main product.

    Standard A4-size notebook PCs (except low-priced units) may eventually be replaced by desktop PCs equipped with LCD monitors.

    "The purpose of notebook PCs will shift from the replacement of desktop PCs to actual portable use, which was an original design point," said Yoshi Takayama, a senior vice president at NEC.

    Related stories: PC Makers to Counter Sony in Summer Sales Campaigns
    Sharp to Sell Thin Notebook PCs to Rival Sony's Vaio

    (Nikkei Personal Computing)

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    Updated: Tue Jun 16 14:25:40 1998