Where have hardware margins gone these days? Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) has announced a new HP laptop priced at a very aggressive $197, which will go on sale this week as part of the retailer's Black Friday sale.
Best Buy is calling the model its "first-ever, value priced HP laptop." The $197 machine comes with an Intel Celeron 900 processor, 2GB memory and a 160GB hard drive. HP's new laptop beats out the $249.99 Acer laptop that Best Buy unveiled last month. The store is also offering Intel Atom-based netbooks priced below $200 for the upcoming holiday.
While PCs sales have rebounded lately, the increase comes at a steep price as prices -- and margins -- have declined dramatically. Gartner recently reported that it expects 2009 PC shipments to increase 2.8 percent while PC revenue falls 10.7 percent.
Offer available In Store only.
Minimum 5 per store. Limit 1 per customer. No rainchecks.
* HP Laptop with Intel® Celeron® Processor
* 6-cell lithium-ion battery
* AC power adapter
* Software: Microsoft Works; Cyberlink DVD Suite; Adobe Acrobat Reader and more
* Owner’s manual
* Intel® Celeron® processor 900
Features an 800MHz frontside bus, 1MB cache and 2.2GHz processor speed.
* 2GB DDR2 DIMM memory
For multitasking power, expandable to 4GB.
* Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive with double-layer support
Records up to 8.5GB of data or 4 hours of video using compatible DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL media; also supports LightScribe direct-disc labels using compatible LightScribe media.
* 15.6″ high-definition widescreen display
With BrightView technology and 1366 x 768 resolution showcases movies and games in stunning clarity.
* 160GB Serial ATA hard drive (7200 rpm)
Offers spacious storage and fast read/write times.
* Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M
Features up to 797MB total graphics memory for lush images. HDMI output for connecting to an HDTV. Altec Lansing audio.
* 5-in-1 digital media reader
Supports Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard, Memory Stick, Memory Stick PRO and xD-Picture Card formats.
* 3 high-speed USB 2.0 ports
For fast digital video, audio and data transfer.
* Built-in wireless LAN (802.11b/g)
Connect to the Internet without wires.
* Built-in 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN
With RJ-45 connector and 56 Kbps modem for flexible wired Web connectivity options.
* Weighs 6.6 lbs. and measures just 1.7″ thin
For portable power.
* HP Imprint Piano Black finish
With a silver keyboard surround for a stylish look.
* Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit operating system preinstalled
Provides a stable computing platform.
* Software package included
With Microsoft Works, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Adobe Acrobat Reader and more. 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 also included.
* ENERGY STAR qualified
Designed to use less energy and meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy.
* Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Centrino, Core, Viiv, Intel Inside and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.
There you have it.These won’t last long at this price.
The trend of falling hardware prices, especially for mobile PCs, looks to continue after the holidays. A recent article in Linux Journal suggested that Google could offer a free Chrome-based netbook.
Since the applications will be Google (NSDQ:GOOG)'s free, cloud-based Apps, the hardware requirements will be minimal. And with the falling costs of PC components, Google could potentially make up for the cost of the hardware by running Google App-based advertising on the desktop.