With mid to low-priced craze in the smartphone market, the sale of mid to low-end laptops and tablets is sharply rising as well. As the technology to make laptops and tablets has been standardized, the performance gap between products in the range of 200,000 to 300,000 won (US$169 to $254) and expensive ones is not wide. Moreover, cheaper models are easy to carry around, and so they are popular in the market.
According to industry sources on Sept. 9, increasingly-popular Chromebooks are leading the low-priced laptop market. Based on Google's ChromeOS, Chromebooks store files on Google's cloud server. Although they can only be used for certain purposes, Chromebooks are light and can operate apps fast. Hence, they are rapidly increasing their share in the low-priced laptop market.
In response, Microsoft also slashed license fees of Windows 8.1 by up to 70 percent, and released low-end Windows laptops. It shows that competition in the mid to low-priced laptop market is heating up.
Lenovo Korea rolled out the S21e as well, which is sold for only 200,000 won (US$169) per unit. The low-end product features Intel's dual-core CPU, Windows 8.1, and a 11.6" HD display.
HP's Stream 11 opened the era of mid to low-priced laptops, which was priced at US$199 (240,000 won). The company included low-end models in the lineup of Stream series late last year, in partnership with Microsoft. The Stream 11 received a lot of attention, since it weighs only 1.28 kg, and is much easier to carry around.
An industry source said, "Manufacturers are actively seeking to expand the low-priced laptop market as part of their strategy to increase brand awareness or their share in the operating system market in the long term, rather than making profits right now."
The low-end tablet market is also growing. Samsung Electronics launched the Galaxy Tab A.E. in the range of 200,000 to 300,000 won (US$169 to $254) in the first quarter of this year. The low-end, mid-range model was introduced to the U.S., Korea, and India in April, after Russia and the Netherlands in March of this year. The Galaxy Tab A.E. has been popular thanks to its affordable price.
With low-priced tablets taking root in the market, US$50 tablets have also emerged. Amazon is planning to sell US$50 tablets late this year. The online retailer has reportedly decided to sell low-end tablets to target customers who want to do simple tasks like streaming video processing or online shopping.