Hey, remember netbooks? They're what all the tech geeks were talking about before the iPad. No? Let's jog your memory.
Netbooks were the little 10-inch, 1 GB mini-notebooks produced by Asus, Acer, HP and others that sported double-digit-percentage sales growth last year, according to NPD, and were poised to be the world's fourth screen. Research firm Techasie actually predicted 36 million netbook sales worldwide this year.
Then came the iPad and 43% growth from 2009 to 2010 turned into a 13% decline in April, according to Morgan Stanley. Now, both Gartner and Forrester Research predict that tablet sales will outstrip those of netbooks, with Forrester expecting a tablet takeover by 2012. Techasie hedged its 2010 prediction with a caveat that netbook sales would decline starting in 2011 through 2014. Techasie CEO Anurag Agrawal sealed the argument, saying "there is no compelling reason for a consumer or a business to buy a netbook as compared to a notebook." With tablets taking a chunk out of the netbook market and smartphones already performing some of their lighter duties, Agrawal may be right.
Taiwanese manufacturer Asus experienced a drop in sales of its Eee PC netbooks in the second quarter of the year.
Competition from the iPad was cited by the company at a recent investor conference, according to a Digitimes report.
Asus was largely responsible for creating the netbook category, with the introduction of the Eee PC but since then many other manufactures have introduced similar devices aimed at internet use on the move, an area also targeted by the Apple iPad.
InformationWeek on 9 August 2010:
Businesses and consumers will purchase 36 million netbooks in 2010 globally, according to research firm Techaisle, which said Monday that the figure reaffirms its initial forecast released in mid 2009.
Business netbook penetration will be 5.3% and consumer netbook penetration will be 1.8%, said the firm. There will be a "short and transient shift of netbook purchases among consumers from some mature markets into a few newly emerging markets," in 2010, the firm said in a statement. European businesses will continue to adopt netbooks "in decent numbers" during the same timeframe, and they are especially popular with small retail shop owners, Techaisle said.
Thus, it seems Techasie is still predicting 36 million!