With Toshiba and IBM both having announced new marketing strategies and entry-level notebook products aimed at SOHO, student and home consumer users, NEC has thrown its hat into the ring with cheaper Versas.
In a play to wrest some of the rising retail demand for mobile computing technology away from Toshiba, NEC has cut prices across the Versa range. The recommended retail prices on some older PII 333MHz and 366MHz models are now $1000 cheaper.
At the other end of the scale, NEC's top-of-the-range PII 400MHz Versa LX notebooks are now wearing RRPs of $8456 and $8688 (depending on whether they are running on Windows 95 or NT4).
Rupinder Toor, an analyst at IDC Australia, said mobile shipments in 1998 totalled 265,583, which is estimated to increase to 542,925 in 2000.
"The notebook market is well on the way to becoming more than just a tool used by top-level executives and mobile warriors," Toor said. "It is getting smaller, faster and much more powerful and this will only increase in the future.
"As processor speed is expected to hit 600MHz late this year, we are going to see a convergence of the gap between mobile PCs and desktops."
Toor also said the new buyers are coming from outside the traditional profile.
"The machines are becoming smaller in size and I would also expect them to soon be released in more lifestyle type designs and colours, such as the Toshiba Portege targeting the consumer market," she said.