Arriving earlier than expected the sub-$1,000 consumer notebook has finally arrived.
After dropping the price barrier of the home desktop PC to $999, The Warehouse and Dell have done the same for the notebook computer.
The mass bargain retailer has today started selling a Dell Inspiron 2200 notebook for $999.
Dell's Warehouse deal is billed as a Father’s Day special and is scheduled to end next Tuesday, September 6.
The machine on offer features a 1.3GHz Intel Celeron M processor, 256MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, a 14-inch TFT display and a DVD optical drive.
A similar product, but with a 1.6GHz processor, is on offer directly from Dell on its online store for $1,613 delivered. Online orders placed before Friday receive a free upgrade to a DVD burner.
Liam Gunson hardware analyst at research group IDC, says the $999 notebook has been anticipated ever since the notebook price reached $1,300 in the last quarter of 2004.
The $999 price point was expected only in the second half of this year, however, he says.
“This deal is slightly early,” he says.
It is also surprising the Warehouse did not launch the offer later in the year to take advantage of the Christmas buying season, or early in the new year to coincide with back to school sales, says Gunson.
Although the Warehouse has put a time limit on the offer, Gunson believes that if the price does rise after Tuesday, it would not be long before it falls again.
Nevertheless this new price point will create a stir in the market, says Gunson.
“It will be similar to what happened when the desktop reached that point,” he says.
Dell and the Warehouse offered the first $999 entry-level desktop PC in December 2003, resulting in prices dropping across the board.
None of the other mass merchants currently offer a notebook below $1,000, although technically Dick Smith and Harvey Norman can say they do.
The retailers are selling an Acer Aspire 3002LC for $1,099, which comes with a $100 cash back offer redeemable from the vendor until September 30. The rebate however can not be taken off the retail price of the product and will not have the same effect as a $999 price tag, says Gunson.
“It is not as strong as having the $999 price point. When people see that they think why not and buy one,” he says.
The Acer features a 1.6GHz AMD Mobile Sempron 2800+ processor, 256MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, a 15-inch TFT display and a DVD drive.
Noel Leeming’s best deal is a Packard Bell EasyNote C3-246DW with an AMD Athlon XP 2400+ processor, 15-inch TFT display, 256MB of memory, a 30GB hard drive and DVD drive for $1,299.