Friday, September 02, 2005

Laptops' price trend for 2005

I just read BW magazine (Asian edition) few days ago: one article covering laptop computers mentioned that the average price for a laptop in 2005 (in the USA, I suppose) would be about USD 700, on in Thai Baht (THB) about 29,000 Baht, compare to about USD 1,000 or about THB 41,000 Baht last year (2004). Frankly I have seen laptops in that quoted price range in Bangkok Thailand as well, but all of them are of poor quality so I am not sure how the word average was defined in that article. Naturally, the prices vary with specifications and quality, not to mention the OS. Thus I think, for the price-conscious buyers, it still falls into "you get what you pay" situation. The dropping prices mentioned are undoubtedly the machines running the aging Windows XP operating system (3 yr old already). This is especially true considering that the price of an Apple Macintosh laptop with the latest OS-X Tiger does not drop that much. But considering the price of a Mac laptop, the price is higher. But one must also remember that the Mac's price includes the price of the OS (OS-X Tiger) plus some add-on softwares, not to mentioned a great GUI design and user experience.

I am not a Mac's fanatic, nor am I a newbie to computer, having used several ones for the past 20+ years. (The first PC
I encountred and unpacked it alone from the box for my lab (and even RTFM) was a Wyse 8088 PC (with 10 MB hard disk, I think), using MS-DOS 2.0 and came with BASIC interpreter.) I have used most of the OSes, such as AT&T Unix, Solaris (Unix from Sun), Digital Unix, many Linux distributions, several versions of DOS and Windows, Mac system 6, and lastly Mac OS-X 10.4 Tiger, so I know which is good.
Considering the total price, if you include the price of legitimate copy of OS such as WinXP into the laptop, the price difference between a Windows laptop and Mac laptop is not too much. But buying a Mac laptop one gets a much better user interface and simplification. Definitely, now I am thinking of buying a new Mac laptop to replace my 3 yr old (Thai assembled) "toaster" in the next few months. That toaster is a laptop running a 32 bit WinME OS. (Legal copy, of course.) It now hangs often, and this is slow and hot, and when considering an additional fact that I usually have many files opened at the same time, and I also have a number of gigantic files, say some in the size 10 MB - 500 MB (that correct, half a gigabyte a file) Windows programs could not be opened in it. Thus the 32 bit OS is currently useless for me, only a 64 bit Unix-based like Tiger will do. It is amazing that most people are sort of like a frog sitting covered inside a coconut shell, as a Thai adage says, that they never saw a horizon beyond Windows. I am not an anti-MicroSoft person. I respect its contributions to the World's progress and I used to use its SW before. However, I choose to use mostly free or open-source softwares and using a Unix machine opens that possibility well. Most people never realize that situation.

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