2009 Channel Contenders: Notebooks3:00 PM EST Fri. Jul. 31, 2009
Solution providers weighed in and it's clear that Hewlett-Packard dominates the laptop and mobile computing space. HP competitor Dell ranks a respectable second in the category, but other notebook makers are clearly chasing these two vendors, according to the 2009 CRN Channel Contenders survey. The research sought to identify the top vendors that solution providers choose as alternatives to market leaders. Here's a look at nine challengers to HP and Dell.
Toshiba's Tecra A10 notebook delivers desktop computing power on a 15.4-inch notebook. The Tecra is designed for business installations and comes preloaded with Windows Vista Business Edition. Powerful Intel processors power the business line of Toshiba notebooks, and while they can be on the expensive side, the notebooks deliver business-class performance and reliability.
Acer is using Dell's own strategy against it. The vendor is stripping as much price as it can out of the cost of its notebooks. In addition to driving costs down, Acer consistently adopts the latest technology, as seen in netbooks, for example, and innovates in the space. The vendor's 11.6-inch netbook was one of the first in the market to expand on the 10.1-inch form factor that had become standard in ultramobile notebooks.
Lenovo notebooks are a staple of working environments. The flagship ThinkPad line of notebooks received a recent addition that reduces the weight and form factor of the systems. However, that doesn't mean that Lenovo skimped on the internal specs. The ThinkPad line of notebooks is still designed to deliver all the computing power customers require.
Sony brings a different perspective to the notebook and netbook question. Billed as Lifestyle PCs, Sony's offering is heavily focused on design and fashion without sacrificing computing power. The full-size notebooks come in a variety of colors and, depending on the model, offer up to 400-GB of storage space and 8-GB of memory. While not a traditional player in the notebook space, Sony is still delivering powerful machines that tend to have price tags at the upper end of the notebook market.
Asus, the company that originated the netbook, has taken a novel approach to the consumer market. For its latest netbook, Asus has teamed with Disney to create what it is calling the Disney Netpal. The Netpal is targeted at children ages six to 12 and includes a dashboard that allows parents to set parental controls. For sheer audacity, give it to Asus, which first thought about a smaller form factor notebook and now has widened the age range of notebook users.
Apple continues to differentiate its line with slick design and brand recognition. But that doesn't mean that the computing power the MacBook Pro line of notebooks offers isn't up to the task for business use. The recent refresh to the line upgraded the internal specs with more memory and processor speed. As an added benefit, the prices on Apple's notebooks didn't increase with the refresh.
The Fujitsu M2010 is the company's first foray into the netbook market. But Fujitsu's system comes to the market with a very specific audience in mind: the education market. Because the vendor wants to capture the dollars that exist in that space, the M2010 was designed with students in mind and therefore can stand up to the rigors of everyday use in schools.
The Gateway line of PCs is Acer's style line in the U.S. The manufacturer doesn't hide the fact that Gateway is intended to deliver slick-looking machines to customers concerned with appearance and fashion. And while Gateway notebooks may not be designed for business, that doesn't mean the company skimps on hardware.
Panasonic continues to do what it does very well when it comes to notebooks. ToughBook notebooks are legendary for their longevity and durability. A staple in applications where being able to take a beating is important, Panasonic's ToughBooks continue to be the rugged alternative of choice for customers who have to have a reliable and tough machine.