Coby: We’re Not Working on a $99.95 Laptop

By  |  Friday, December 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm

nocobyThis is weird. Yesterday, I blogged about a report on a site called Indymedia that low-cost electronics manufacturer Coby was getting ready to release a netbook-like mini-computer for $99.95. Today, I heard from a representative of Coby who says that the company is doing no such thing. Here’s Coby’s official statement on the matter:

Coby Electronics Corporation is not in fact developing or producing a laptop computer in the under-$100 price category, referred to in various erroneous reports as the“Midget PC,” “PoqetMate-7” and “PoqetMate-9.” Coby Electronics Corporation is not currently producing a PC nor is one headed to market at any price under the company’s name.  While Coby Electronics Corporation constantly monitors and evaluates all consumer electronics categories, no decision has been made to develop or launch laptops, nor have there been any specifications, pricing and distribution channels created for such product at this time.  Coby Electronics Corporation remains focused on producing high-quality, innovative and competitively priced products in a range of consumer electronics categories, including LCD TVs, Video MP3 players, Portable and Home DVD Players, Digital Photo Frames, iPod Docking Stations, Radios and Accessories.

That’s a pretty definitive denial. The Coby representative told me further that everything in the article was fabricated, including quotes from Coby representatives. Ross Rubin, an NPD analyst quoted in the Indymedia story, has more to say about this on his blog, and points out that his quote was lifted from a two-year-old New York Times article about Coby.

In my original post, I did use words such as “is reporting,” “according to,” “will apparently,” and “says that” to indicate that I was relying on the Indymedia post’s account of things. Obviously, it wasn’t reliable in the least, and it might have behooved me to adopt an even more skeptical tone. (Indymedia is, by the way, a citizen journalism site that allows ordinary folks to post items directly without editing; as with CNN’s false citizen-journalism story about a Steve Jobs medical emergency, this would appear to show the downside of such systems.) I suspect we will see devices along the lines of the “PoqetMate,” although perhaps not under $100 just now. But it’s official: Coby had no plans to enter this market.

All of this leaves one question: Why would anybody decide to make up stuff about Coby? It’s a privately-held company, so stock manipulation isn’t a factor.

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