The energy and vibe that is the local notebook market

Gary_Naidoo.JPGBy Gary Naidoo, deputy MD at Sahara

Users can expect a great deal of activity and change within the mobile and wireless/ digital lifestyle space in 2008.

The notebook, from entry level to high end professional, is gaining popularity from an ever-increasing wide user base – individuals who see the potential in the device as a desktop replacement and a key business tool for the mobile professional.

Intense interest by consumers, a higher level of awareness & understanding, improved access and lower pricing is helping to ensure that this market remains one of the fastest growing segments of the information, communication and mobile digital lifestyle space.

Ongoing research and development has helped to ensure that manufacturers focus on new designs and new approaches in order to ensure advantages of mobility, portability without sacrificing on functionality.

There is renewed focus by technology manufacturers on the incorporation of performance-enhancing technologies/ laptop architecture. The market is moving quickly towards the adoption and use of multi-core mobile solutions.

Whilst it is clear that thin, lightweight solutions will dominate the broad consumer notebook market, service providers and resellers will not miss the opportunity to introduce a number of other key features that impact on user experience.

Clearly the increase in speed, development in terms of size, clarity and resolution in monitors, as well as increased capacity of hard disk drives, is all contributing to the overall functionality and use of the product. The notebook now holds appeal among mobile workers, gamers, students and others.

Factors like extended battery life, DVD writers and re-writers, additional ports, 3G, and processing power are all taken into consideration.

Buying trends, especially among first time investors, is to go for higher capacity specifications – notebooks that facilitate high volume data storage and multi-media applications.

More emphasis will be placed on processor speeds, and major international technology vendor companies will maintain efforts to establish and further entrench the move to multi-core computer processing.

There is likely to be more prominence placed on connectivity and influential technologies such as VoIP, HSDPA, and a surge in practical aspects and convenience of products in this space, such as portability, weight and design. The focus will be on wireless applications, access to wireless technology and security.

Manufacturers will take advantage of  the approach in new design features  (such as opportunities to personalise product with replaceable notebook covers in order to suit a wider profile of user groups) and there is likely to be more emphasis placed on the principle of ‘anywhere/ anytime’ computing.

Local consumers are far more tech-savvy and the onus to offer more than simply a good deal on a notebook stands – there is a vested interest to offer complete packages, with additional value adds like Internet connectivity, specials on digital lifestyle devices and more.

Decisions to invest in mobile technology are not based exclusively on price alone.

Vendors are keeping up with solution roadmaps prescribed by market leaders, including AMD and Intel, through ongoing R&D, by issuing samples for testing and through solid, reliable manufacturing.

The anticipated release of Microsoft’s SP1 during the first quarter of 2008 is likely to push up notebook sales.

Consumers should anticipate greater impact of aspects such as green computing, sleek and sophisticated design, and multimedia solutions.