Sub-NZ$1000 laptops have been around for a couple of years now. Some are priced lower. Last week Dick Smith was offering a model for under NZ$500. But for some reason, just about every bargain basement laptop currently on sale in New Zealand has a 14-inch wide screen. This is curious, because only months ago, wide screen models were commanding a price premium. Generally the low-cost models on sale have compromised specifications: too little ram, not much hard drive, weak processors and so on, but apparently rather upbeat displays. Here's a possible explanation. Laptop makers put wide screens on models aimed at consumers -- presumably the wide screens are manufactured in such vast quantities the margin cost of those extra few pixels is negligible. As soon as individual laptop models go off the boil, they are discounted, wide screens and all to that magic sub-$1000 price point. It's probably like mobile phone cameras -- it's actually cheaper to set up production lines so more or less every phone manufactured has a built-in camera somewhere, it's just not activated in certain non-camera models. Or is there a better explanation?