PCs Are Like Bananas

I knew that one day the humble PC would become so popular, so widespread and cost effective, that you would be able to buy one at your supermarket. That day has arrived.

Wandering around the aisles of my local Coles, I bumped into a poster offering a brand new Acer netbook (mini notebook to be technically correct) for $389. This kind of portable PC is perfect for school kids, or someone who likes a basic PC that has email, web surfing, picture manager, social networking, or allows you to type up a document.
I was almost tempted to buy one.

The lure of a sub-$400 netbook was filling me with the same child-like enthusiasm that once saw me grab the Bertie Beatle off the shelf from the confectionery aisle and then beg my mother to let me have it. Fortunately I fought the urge as I struggled to understand what it was that made me want one – a mother could put it down to childhood enthusiasm, I doubt my wife would be as understanding if I arrived home with a new notebook tucked under my arm. One that we didn't need.

Currently, I'm using a Toshiba T130 notebook, it's fast, well built and blows away a $389 netbook in every performance test - it's extremely light too.

I had to leave the supermarket because I knew I would buy it. I realised soon after leaving why I felt this urge. I had never before seen such a great value proposition, a netbook for $380 – and it made me feel I needed to act quickly to take advantage of the opportunity – isn't that what marketing in supermarkets is all about?

The truth is that a netbook in a supermarket is not a new offer, it's a new trend and is one that will gain momentum over time. We sell so many PCs, and we can make them so cheaply, that we'll continue to see PCs in the electronic aisle next to power boards and light bulbs. The age of the throw away computer is here. Now if we can just work out how to make them disappear back to the Earth once we have finished with them like last week's banana, we'll have the whole process sorted.