Could Ultra Cheap Ultra Portable Netbooks Kill The Tech Industry?

The tiny, cute little laptops of which the Asus EEE PC is the icon, have heralded a new era but could possibly be a poison pill for the traditional tech industry, something that AMD and Sony have been vocal about.

The tech industry has always been about bigger, faster, fatter and if possible more expensive, this cycle has been the engine behind the phenomenal growth of the tech industry over the last three decades with the rise of companies like Microsoft and Intel being the most recognised examples.

However, try to break this cycle and heaven might break lose; the open source phenomenon triggered one of the longest running feuds in contemporary tech history as Microsoft tried first to quash the emerging threat.

Open source main motto, giving software for free where Microsoft charges hundreds of dollars; Ultra cheap, ultra portable laptops promise similar functionality to other portable laptops at a quarter of the price.

Sony, Microsoft, AMD and others pertinently know that decreasing retail prices will have a knock-off effect on everything else including research and development.

Manufacturers are particularly concerned that lower specced devices might cannibalise sales of higher priced, more powerful ones and that consumers might suddenly fine out that they don't need an expensive Quad Core computer with oodles of memory to browse the web.

This is why, even though AMD has low power Sempron and Geode processors, it has been very reluctant to follow Intel's steps and launching an Atom competitor.

Rapidly diminishing prices and increasing volumes of laptops being sold at the very end of the spectrum means that less money will be dedicated to R&D overall.

And it is not surprising to see that many of the cheapest laptops on the market sport very old technology like a 400Mhz Processor.

And while Intel might still be producing the Atom, chances are that Intel feels that it has no choice and will do some sort of damage limitation.

After all, better apply "divide and rule" strategy to your own product range rather than let others like VIA or non x-86 processors dictate the market.