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Tablets in, netbooks out, forecasts analyst

Most of them iPads

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Apple will have shipped 4.2m iPads during Q3, rising to 5m in Q4, market watcher DisplaySearch has forecast.

In all, the Mac maker will sell around 13.2m of the tablets in 2010, DisplaySearch's numbers show, before almost doubling that total to 24.8m in 2011.

That's not to say, that Apple's rivals, like Samsung, LG, Motorola, Toshiba, Asus and co, won't do too badly. DisplaySearch reckons some 8.7m non-Apple netbooks and tablets will ship in Q3, rising to 11.2m in Q4.

DisplaySearch didn't say specifically how those numbers will split between netbooks and the new Android tablets, but it's clear that it doesn't believe the former will account for a declining proportion of the whole. It made a point of stating that during Q2 netbook sales were down 14 per cent sequentially and 13 per cent year on year.

"Clearly, there was an 'iPad Effect' in the portable PC market," it said. "The effect might have been even more pronounced, but Apple struggled to fill demand, with shipment times listed as 7-10 business days for all of Q2, and shipments into Japan and China were just beginning at the end of the period."

The prognosis is not good. "We expect tablets like the iPad will continue to take market share from [netbooks] and the ultraportable segment in regions where PCs have high penetration rates," it said. However, netbooks will continue to sell well in emerging economies to first-time PC buyers, it added.

That may well be how Acer Taiwan president Scott Lin felt able this week to say that the netbook isn't doomed to be out-evolved by the tablet. Lin said he believes that this year some 40m netbooks will be sold, about 20 per cent of the notebook market as a whole.

That's slightly higher than the 36m netbooks and non-iPad tablets DisplaySearch has forecast will be sold in 2010, but not so very far off. ®

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