It’s been exactly a year since I spotted Coby’s lineup of 7 to 10 inch netbooks at CES in 2009. In that time, I’ve never found a single person who purchased a Coby netbook. But that’s not your fault. The netbooks were never made widely available. But when I caught up with a Coby rep today, he told me that the company has sold small quantities to distributors in the US. And when I say small quantities, I mean, a few thousand, tops.
But Coby is hoping to up its game this year. The company manufactures the netbooks overseas and has relatively low production costs. In most of the markets where Coby competes, this gives the company has a slim advantage because it doesn’t have to outsource production. But netbooks are low profit margin machines, and when you add Windows licenses to the cost, Coby determined that it can’t really undercut competitors’ pricing unless it offers Linux. And Coby has determined that Linux isn’t widely enough accepted in the US to make Coby netbooks running Ubuntu very successful, although the company has sold some Linux-based netbooks overseas.
Anyway, long story short, Coby is showcasing a couple of different 9 and 10 inch models with Intel Atom processors and Windows 7 Starter at CES this year. They may or may not be coming to a local retailer near you. Some of the models on display have some pretty nice looking keyboards, cases, and touchpads.
Coby also has a few 12 inch models with AMD Neo and Sempron processors as well as one with a dual core Intel Celeron SU2300 CULV processor. These look pretty slick, but unfortunately they’re just concepts for now. There are no concrete plans to sell these larger mini-laptops at the moment.
You can check out a boatload of pictures I snapped at the Coby booth after the break.
I’d buy a Coby netbook. I have had decent luck with Coby products in the past, but I buy knowing sometimes I’ll have to deal with the fact that what I have in hand is low-end. If I buy the low end Creative MP3 player and I bough a similarly priced Coby MP3 player they would work the same and last about the same amount of time. That has been my experience at least…
If Coby puts a netbook out I’ll buy it. It is really that simple…the idea intrigues me and I’m willing to deal with weirdness to just play around with it.
Coby has been successful with low-priced consumer electronics to some degree. I’ve purchased a few of their products to save a few bucks over brand name. Honestly, the quality of their products is inferior and more likely to breakdown. I have a Coby LCD TV here that I need to press the power button 30 times to start, and it’s only 3 months old.
However, companies like Coby give something for the bigger brands like Asus and Acer something to worry about. If Coby can eventually have sub-$100 laptops available at drug stores, supermarkets and big box stores it will eat away market share of established computer makers. Someone in the market for a sub-$200 new netbook probably is going to be less concerned about quality and longevity than they would with more expensive systems.
Competition is good and I’ll be happy to see these things show up in plastic clam-shell cases at my local Walmart.
When electronics are concerned, brand image and loyalty plays an important part.
I doubt many will deviate from the regular Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Samsung brands and buy new startup brands.
All the more if the startup brands are not well established companies.
I bought an unheard brand notebook before. When it got spoilt, nobody could repair it. I had to bin it because the company had gone bust with totally no support at all.
Even old good quality notebook brands are vanishing. For example Twinhead. This is because they cannot compete with the old established players interms of volume.
If this is so, how do you think the new brands can penetrate the market?
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