100 yen Netbooks

A while ago Japan was known as the country where 3G smartphones cost 1 yen. The terrible competition in the mobile phone market made telephone prices drop until the limit of 1 yen. Not only the most basic phones cost 1 yen, even the advanced and pretty good phones cost also 1 yen. Those were crazy times and the carriers only wanted to get more and more users even if they had to loose money giving away terminals. Nowadays this tendency is almost finished in the world of mobile phones, now users have to pay quite a bit of money to get new phones, although there are still some 1 yen phones like for example the 8Gb iPhone.

Selling 100 yen Netbooks on the street.

The same thing that happened with mobile phones is happening right now with Netbooks. Since more than 10 years ago there is a market in Japan of ultra-light portable computers with screens of 6 until 12 inches but these where never called Netbooks. These where laptops as good as any other laptop and were even more expensive, there was not much competition and the market of these ultra-light portable laptops was controlled by local Japanese manufacturers like Panasonic.

But the Netbooks also arrived to Japan, at the beginning local brands like Toshiba or Panasonic tried to stop it to protect their market but at the end they could not spot the inevitable invasion of cheap ultra-light computers known as Netbooks made by Taiwanese manufacturers like Acer and Asus or north-american like Dell. During 2007 100.000 Netbooks were sold in Japan and in 2008 it was 10X that number, 1.000.000 Netbooks were sold in Japan during 2008!

There is so much competition during the last months that Netbook prices have dropped to 100 yen and even 1 yen. There is only one condition; the user has to sign a 3G (HSDPA) data contract for at least two years. The contract fees and conditions are different depending on the carrier but for example EMobile offers a 7.2Mbps flat rate plan for 6.000 yen a month (45 Euros) without any download volume data limit. As it is a pretty good speed for a decent price there are many users who are canceling their home hikari lines (fiber lines) and using their Emobile connection also at home.

Emobile and other carriers like Docomo or AU-KDDI confess that they are loosing tons of money giving away 100 yen and even 1 yen Netbooks. Some analysts like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanly think that this tendency will last until the beginning of next year when the carrier will have the necessary data users to make good money without the need to give more Netbooks for free. Get one while it still costs 100 Yen! This is the one that Danny bought for Mirai.

This is our Dell Mini 9, it cost 100 yen with a two years contract with Emobile. The only bad thing of this Netbook is the keyboard, it is too little, I prefer the size of my Acer Aspire One.

  • Tempura

    April 27, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Funny. I always thought Germany were expensive a this pionts. But here the same offering costs only 40 Euro per month with various netbooks 😉

  • Haf

    April 27, 2009 at 3:11 am

    To make Tempura’s statement clear: In Germany, there was also this craze with ultra-chep cell phones, paired with two-year contracts.
    Now that we have 3G/UMTS netbooks, the same thing happens with those devices.

    I think this is pretty standard and similar in various other countries as well.

  • Muda

    April 27, 2009 at 12:50 pm
  • yaschan79

    April 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Cheap? If you take the eMobile’s one, 6000yen x 24 144.000
    Apple’s Macbook: 148.000
    Which do I choose? hmm..

  • Naoko

    April 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Now I wish I lived in Japan. That’s far too cheap!

  • Tempura

    April 28, 2009 at 1:22 am

    @yaschan: you compare different things. The Macbook has no 3G-Connection.

  • Jamaipanese

    April 29, 2009 at 2:08 am

    where do I sign up? 😀

  • Hao

    April 29, 2009 at 5:35 am

    I own an Acer Aspire One (love it!) but I’ve been wanting to see Dell Mini 9 for a while. Now that you mention that the keyboard is a bit on the small side I’m glad of what I have 😉

    Anyway, yeah 100 yen Netbooks (105 tax included? 😀 ) is the same as cellphones in Japan or in America, land of the “free”!

  • Marc

    April 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    How can you even see anything on those screens? Maybe watch small movies, but actually reading something? Impossible!

  • G

    April 29, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    How is a Dell running Mac OS X?

  • japannewstoday

    May 7, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I hear the Dell mini models are some of the best for running OSX even better than the MSI Wind because everything is supposed to work.

  • wrought iron furniture

    August 20, 2009 at 9:23 am

    I like the Acer model the best!

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