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Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:13

Tablet shipments outpace netbooks by a factor of two

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One fad buries another


It appears netbooks are enjoying the last moments of a picturesque drive through the Libyan desert. According to recent figures from ABI Research, tablet shipments have now surpassed netbooks by a factor of two.

In Q3 the marked gobbled up 13.6 million tablets and 7.3 million netbooks, a significant shift from Q1, when netbooks outsold tablets with 8.4 million to 6.4 million units. The trend doesn’t bode well for x86 chipmakers or Microsoft, as the vast majority of tablets runs ARM chips with iOS or Android on top.

Apple is still king of the hill and it managed to seize 68 percent of the market in Q2. However, Android tablets are making some headway in spite of a pretty slow start. Some punters believe Amazon’s Kindle could upset Apple dominance in a few months.

While both netbooks and tablets were seen as fads by traditionalists, tablets seem to be doing much better than expected, especially if factor in the relatively high cost. Netbooks offer a lot more functionality and performance for a fraction of the cost of high-end tablets, but consumers don’t seem too impressed and they are turning to tablets in droves.

Basically, most view nettops as crippled notebooks, while tablets are an entirely new product category and make a lot more sense as tertiary devices. There’s really not much point in getting a netbook if you already have say a 13-inch notebook. Also, tablets are more suitable for Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.

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