For years, laptops were super expensive. Hardware companies put out the latest and greatest powerhouse computers. Often this was under the pre-tense that if you wanted to run the latest (increasingly larger and more complex) software, you had to have a more powerful computer.
Just recently, this trend has turned. Since more work is done “in the cloud” – the processing is done over the internet by some other computer. Think Gmail or google Docs, or facebook, or anything you do on your computer really. More and more is done through a browser. So, the need for a super powerful computer is not needed. More important is portability- so you can work on the go. This means, less power, more battery life and a small and light footprint.
Welcome the netbook. These typically tiny laptops have laughably weak processors – by traditional standards – but they do enough to get the job done for the tasks I described above.
This trend is not limited to computers. Camcorders were until very recently super expensive. They would have excessive features that most people never used. Ever look through a camcorder menu? Have you used half those features? Most people just want to capture a quick video and upload it to YouTube to share with their friends. Flip came along and created just that, for a quite affordable price.
This is the new success formula. Create something that is very easy to use for most people, and make it affordable. The current state of the economy has something to do with this trend as well.