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back to article Tablets? Pah! Netbooks still selling well, says analyst...

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 …

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Unhappy

What Netbooks?

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.

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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.

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Grenade

Distinction between a netbook and a notebook is moot

I've just after been using a EEE PC 901 for writing some 3d software, all official with compilers and swirly things and all sorts. You can ALSO use it for the standard tablet task of couch surfing the IMDB then watching nudie vids of the meat puppet on the telly.

Given the capability to do both, why would I choose the device without a keyboard, unless it's for some "one handed GUI" action?

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Anonymous Coward

dodgy comparisons ahoy!

Why are they suggesting that netbooks outselling tablets 4:1 is good news for tablets? Considering what 'tablets' actually means in this case:

- The ipad

- One model, from one manufacturer

- A model that hasn't even been out for a year

- A first model that's quite limited and expensive and sure to be replaced with something more capable and cheaper next year

- A model that's going to be joined by a thousand or so android/windows rivals next year

Outselling tablets by a mere 4:1 is actually pretty shocking. It's probably going to be 1:4 next year!

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Silver badge

Proper Netbooks

The Eee PC and the Aspire One had it pitched about right as a useful compromise between size, performance and (just about) battery life. I have to admit to getting one of those humungous batteries for my AA1, but otherwise it's really useful on the move. The fact that it folds up to protect the display is an advantage over a tablet.

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Market penetration ?

Could it just be that everyone who wants one has already got one ? We constantly hear from the netbook fanatics that their current netbook does everything they will ever need - and more power to them if this is indeed true - so wouldn't we expect to see a natural falling off of sales to round about replacement levels at some point ?

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netbook is dead

People wanted a 7" tiny very low power and very long battery life machine. Then consumers complained the screen was too small and it could not play HD video, and was useless for entertainment, so it got bigger and more powerful. Now, for $100 more, you can get a real notebook since their price came down.

Also, people realized netbooks did not supply enough power to use solely, you still had to own a "real" computer. Colleges banned them because they don;t run the Pro version of OS (and thus can;t join secure domains). Businesses can't use them well either. Companies tried so hard to restrict them to not eat into their profit center (business and college machines are their only real profit, most other systems are sold for very slim margins), and now many tablets can do everything or more than a netbook was intended for (not what they became). having 2 machines also meant double the software costs, double the maintenance, file syncing nightmares, and more, so double the trouble. For $100-200 more, a single machine weighing not much more than 1 lb more could handle it all. Then the 1.5lb iPad came out, synced itself, needed no other maintenance, worked with most of their stuff, and was what they wanted all along, a portable e-mail and typewriter with some web and media functions, and some idle game playability.

If netbooks stayed try as nothing more than underpowered $200 internet machines, subsidized by mobile contracts it would have been fine. As they evolved, and WiFi sprouted up everywhere, (and MiFi etc for the rest) the need for a subsidized device died, students shunned them as dd businesses, and the only people left buying them were people that could afford nothing mroe. They simply because the lowest end of the notebook line. After dealing with the sub in sub par for a year or so, everyone realized raising another $100 for a real notebook was the way to go as portabiltiy in a 11" machine was not a big enough difference to sacrifice usability.

iPad + real notebook is a FAR more realistic combination than a netbook and a PC, and about the same price, but you can't play 3D games on a netbook, and they make horrible e-readers (portrait mode has power!). When a real viable iPad alternative eventually hits the market, you;ll see numbers explode for tablets, and the atom powered netbook will cease to exist in less than 2 years.

Sales for 2011 should be under 2010 sales. Sales in 2012 will be a anomaly at best. We'll ship 100 million tablets by 2011 easy, the bulk under $350.

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People wanted a 7"

Quote" People wanted a 7" tiny very low power and very long battery life machine"

Personally, I think 9" to 11" is just about right. Super thin, comfortable with good endurance. I think several Eee's and probably a number of offerings from other Netbook manufacturers hit the spot. They are very portable, and allow you to do most things, most anywhere, albeit you have to allow for the inevitable loss of CPU throughput.

I personally use my Eee almost as much as my desktop.

What would really be interesting to see is how ARM netbooks would fare if they ever were launched in a big way. I wonder what it would be like in terms of battery life and grunt.

But they may not sell, given the appeal would be mainly to the geekier population, with no ready made fine and dandy full of eye candy OS, except for perhaps android which I think would not be the best thing to be honest...

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Anonymous Coward

labels

I don't even know what a "netbook" is anymore. Pretty much a tablet with a keyboard instead of a touch screen? It'd be kind of nice if someone made one with both. You can use the iPad this way, but you'd have to buy the keyboard and the special case to hold it, and by then it's way too expensive.

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You can has both

Quite a few models with touch screen and keyboard are around now, Vye, Acer and Asus all make at least one apiece. Most of them approach the cost of a basic iPad, mind you, and have resistive touch screens.

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Silver badge
Unhappy

US syndrome?

I've usually seen the biggening of hardware something of a US syndrome ... you know, the guys who love big-ass cars, big-ass SUVs, big-ass homes et al. Laptops used to be getting smaller until sometime around the 2000's where they started getting larger. Why would I ever want a laptop to have a screen as big as my *desktop* PC? One of my friends calls his laptop "the tombstone" because of the sheer size of the thing.

Netbooks were an initial hit because the small form factor was a nice thing to carry around when you don't need the extra horsepower but need a portable computer-thingy. Unfortunately, these have now suffered from the same "biggening" trend that their big-brothers suffer from. We were close to getting (once again) a small-factor portable computer in the form of SmartBooks ... but then Apple came and shat all over that market with the iPad. So now we're stuck with not-so-small netbooks or big-ass laptops. Ugh...

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Gates Horns

Maybe

"We were close to getting (once again) a small-factor portable computer in the form of SmartBooks ... but then Apple came and shat all over that market with the iPad"

Did they? Or did the Wintel bully boys put pressure on all their OEMs to stop them from developing the Smartbook market any further?

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Bronze badge

Because not all laptops don't spend time there

Some are just used to be moved between desktops, and are still a lot smaller than the non-laptop portable PCs that used to exist.

I'll maybe agree if the size of laptops gets to the 24" size of my desktop screen.

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Notbook

"the number of them expected to ship this year shows just how much the tablet is eating into the netbook sales."

Or people are starting to realise that netbooks are lame and are not planning on buying one next year.

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Silver badge

Cannibalised sales

"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."

Or alternatively just how shit the expectation was. You'll soon learn that economist/market watcher forecasts are finger-in-the-air bullshit. Expected 60% growth? Jeezuz.

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Megaphone

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.

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Bronze badge

"Proper keyboard"?

No you get a physical keyboard, but not a proper one. A proper one is something like a Model M :)

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FAIL

Tiny lil' geekster arms

"Any netbook is miles better than the iPad"

For doing some things. In your opinion. That is all.

"And it can stand up on it's own without incurring arm-ache"

Try holding it in your non mouse hand. Yes, you know. That one.

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Dodgy numbers

Something is wrong with the maths. They originally predicted 56M netbook sales. Now it is 36M - so a shortfall of 20M. However, the iPad has "only" sold 11M - so there are 9M missing sales in there somewhere. Unless, of course, the difference has little to do with the iPad and everything to do with "analysts" plucking figures from thin air.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Dodgy numbers

The 36m figures is 2009's sales.

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no title required

A pad could never replace a laptop, it's just a glorified digital picture frame

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Troll

You forgot the icon

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