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ABI: Tablets swamp netbooks, become 75% of ultramobile PCs

updated 04:55 pm EDT, Thu October 6, 2011

ABI says tablets 3 of 4 ultramobile PCs in 2011

Tablets have grown quickly enough that they're now the vast majority of ultramobile PCs in the US, ABI Research determined Thursday. For the year as a whole, the researchers estimated that the iPad and similar tablets would make up 75 percent of the category. The remaining 25 percent would be led by netbooks, but it would also have to split that share with niche PCs like Mobile Internet Devices.

Netbooks would still survive, although they would never get back to their high of 9.9 million shipped in 2010, ABI said. Their sales would go mostly to developing countries where difficulty getting computers or home-based Internet access made netbooks better prospects.

The study warned that tablets were in a fragile place and might not necessarily hold on to their current share. No non-traditional category has ever stayed on top of the group for more than three years, leaving Apple and their kind limited time to make tablets 'sticky' in the market. "There needs to be a fundamental shift in buying behavior driven by lifestyle enhancements and workplace requirements," research group lead Jeff Orr said.

Apple has so far stayed relevant through having a large app ecosystem and by having the performance to handle tasks that even most other dual-core tablets can't manage. Others have mostly tried specialized features, such as the Sony Tablet S' infrared remote, or the enterprise-focused features of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet.

The crash of netbook demand has been acute and enough to shake up the whole PC industry. Acer has leaned very heavily on netbooks and has repeatedly insisted that tablets would disappear after a few months, but this trust has led it to rare losses and a rapid drop in PC market share.

By Electronista Staff


  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Jan 2010


    Netbooks were e-waste-ready

    The natural progression of netbooks from factory to user to e-waste scrap heap has been sped up by iPad and counterfeit iPads all around the world. Good riddance.

  1. climacs

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001


    just a fad!

    pretty soon people will come to their senses and return to buying cr*ppy netbooks from Acer.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    Love the generalization

    I love it when things like this talk about "tablets" and "iPad and other tablet computers" as if it were a broad market, instead of completely dominated by the iPad, with a bunch of Android tablets fighting for scraps and warehouse-targeted Windows tablets filling in the rounding error.

    What's really astounding, though, is that if this is correct and tablets are selling three times as well as netbooks, and given that Apple has something like 75% of the tablet market, that means that the iPad alone is now outselling netbooks by a factor of at least two.

    In one and a half years, from nothing to doubling the sales of what was, two years ago, the hot category in Windows PCs.

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    I remember the Wintards

    were always crowing about how great Windows netbooks were, but considering all those companies only shipped about 10 million units in 2010, it really doesn't seem that large a selling category. In 2010, Apple alone sold close to 15 million iPads so Apple pretty much singlehandedly crushed the netbook category providing the netbook wasn't due to phasing its ownself out by being just a small crappy notebook. I feel certain that Apple can keep the tablet market growing for at least three years so it's probably more than what one might typically consider a fad product. Many industries are adapting the iPad for what seems to be used as a long-term device.

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