Consumers could long buy tiny laptops called netbooks for under $300. Now, it appears that larger notebooks’ prices are sliding in the same direction as well.
BestBuy is offering a laptop with a 15.6-inch display for $280 — now, in the middle of the summer. In the past, electronics retailers have only offered sweet deals like that on Black Fridays, to lure in buyers.
The trend spells trouble for the PC industry. Thanks to proliferation of netbooks, most consumers already expect to buy their next laptop for less. But, until now, they’ve typically expected to get less computer for that lower price. Netbooks, which come for less than $300, typically come with cramped keyboards and screens of 10 inches or less.
The BestBuy offer changes that. Now, consumers can get a full-sized laptop for under $300. Will that offer pressure laptop prices further? You bet. Everyone from PC makers to components vendors will suffer as the industry’s margins contract.