Tablets? Pah! Netbooks still selling well, says analyst...
...while quietly cutting its netbook sales forecast
Rumours of the death of netbook are greatly exaggerated, it has been claimed by one market watcher after it calculates that netbooks will have outsold the iPad and other such tablets almost 4:1 by the end of 2010.
Some 43m netbooks will have been shipped by the time the year is up, but only 11m tablets, ABI Research said today.
That's still good growth for the netbook, it said, even if not as meteoric a rise as the category has experienced in the past.
ABI didn't say today how many netbooks shipped in 2009, but earlier this year it put the total at 36.3m. That's year-on-year growth of just under 19 per cent.
Of course, what ABI also didn't mention today is the fact that only last May it forecast that some 58m netbooks would ship this year - for an annual growth rate of 60 per cent.
Netbooks may be still be selling well, but that big reduction in the number of them expected to ship this year shows just how much the tablet is eating into the netbook sales.
Will they continue to do so? Next year will reveal all. More tablets are on their way, increasing consumer choice and reducing prices through competition, and that's almost certain to hinder sales of netbooks - at least as we've known them to date.
But as netbooks themselves become more powerful - thanks to technology like Intel's dual-core Atom N455 processor and Nvidia's Ion 2 graphics - we think they're going to pose a threat not to tablets but to 13in notebooks.
This would well explain Apple's rumoured plan to shrink the MacBook Air from a 13.3in device to an 11.6in one, if it's actually true.
So tablets will replace the old, small, cheap computer devices, while netbooks evolve into sub-notebooks - a role plenty of netbook users are already putting their devices to, if the anecdotal evidence of Register and Reg Hardware readers is anything to go by. ®
Remember ASUS invented the category with the 7" 701?
Which graduated into a 9" display within the same form factor and was joined by Acer, Dell et al. And was the runaway success?
No longer - that form factor that could be slipped into a coat pocket is virtually extinct. These bloated into 10/11" jobbies just don't fit and are really just mini laptops. Unsurprisingly I have just stop buying them. Instead trading down to smartphones which do the job less well but still can be taken anywhere without an extra bag.
Change the definition, change the numbers.
I was always of the impression that a netbook needed to be small, light and cheap. If the definition stayed the same then netbook numbers would be falling dramatically. However, as they seem to be changing the definition on a day-by-day basis and netbooks need no longer be small, light OR cheap, then almost anything less than a full size desktop replacement could almost be counted in those figures.
Daft number crunching for no reason whatsoever by an industry that is, by and large, totally devoid of ideas and innovation.
No you get a physical keyboard, but not a proper one. A proper one is something like a Model M :)
What a load of nonsense in these comments
Any netbook is miles better than the iPad. Get real people and wake up. You have a proper keyboard that makes email and form filling and creative writing a breeze. And it can stand up on it's own without incurring arm-ache. When are people going to realise that the tablet may be great to walk around a factory or an office but other than that it's a huge con and you are all being suckered. Long live the laptop form factor and the real keyboard.
You forgot the icon
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