Gartner Says Ultralow-Cost Mobile PCs to Drive Growth for Education PC Segment in Emerging Markets

München, (PresseBox) - PC technology providers are seeking new growth opportunities in emerging markets, and this is fueling industry interest in ultralow-cost mobile PCs for educational purposes, according to Gartner, Inc. Gartner analysts said more than 6 million ultralow-cost mobile PC devices for the education segment are forecast to be shipped by the end of 2012. Such a volume of ultralow-cost PC devices could provide a 40 percent uplift for education PC shipments in emerging regions.

Gartner estimates ultralow-cost PCs will reach nearly 1 million units in 2008 and 5 million by the end of 2011. Volumes will remain limited in 2007 as the first shipped units will be seed units used to test usage models and determine the usefulness of such devices.

"PC vendors that target governments and education organizations in emerging markets should have a plan for a limited launch of their own-branded ultralow-cost PC models in Asia/Pacific and Latin America by the middle of 2008, or they will miss the early opportunities in the education segment with ultralow-cost PCs," said Annette Jump, research director at Gartner.

Currently, there are two product concepts: Intel-based Classmate PC platform, and the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC). The OLPC initiative focuses on the provision of devices to children who do not have access to PCs. Intel’s Classmate PC reflects a broader vision that encompasses the classroom environment, including networking infrastructure, teacher training and curriculum materials.

"A classroom-focused approach by the PC Classmate will ultimately prove more effective in driving ultralow-cost PC shipments," said Luis Anavitarte, research vice president at Gartner. "Hardware alone is not enough; users will need software and education applications in local languages."

While the primary target is publicly funded schools, privately funded schools also present opportunities for ultralow-cost PC adoption. Programs should address both types of schools, as it may provide a secure way to fund ultralow-cost PC deployments in a given market.

"The success or failure of ultralow-cost PCs will depend on the following six factors: government support and funding, Microsoft support, Intel and AMD support, attractive pricing, software and training in a local language, and support costs," Ms. Jump said.

"While reducing the digital divide is absolutely critical for emerging economies in their development process, it is also a powerful driver for the future of the PC industry as low-cost PC users today may become mainstream PC users tomorrow," Mr. Anavitarte added.

For this hardware forecast, Gartner defines emerging markets as Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and rest of Asia/Pacific.

Additional information is available in the Gartner report "Forecast Scenarios for Education Ultralow-Cost Mobile PCs, Worldwide." The report is available on Gartner’s Web site at http://www.gartner.com/...

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