iPad/Slate PCs Pushing Out Netbooks

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Santa Clara, Calif. - The age of the netbook could be coming to a close as iPads and slate-type portable devices start to push the netbook onto the back burner.

According to John Jacobs, DisplaySearch's notebook market research director, the advent of the iPad and the upcoming rollout of slates by other vendors likely means sales of clamshell-designed netbooks will start to decline.

The research company noted that during the first quarter, Apple shipped 700,000 iPads, comprising about 6.5 percent of the 10.15 million units shipped in the netbook/slate notebook sub-category. In addition, Apple has reported shipping 2 million iPads during just the first two months of the second quarter, which DisplaySearch is estimating will give Apple about 30 percent of the market for that period.

As additional non-Apple slates are rolled out later this year, the traditional clamshell netbook could continue to lose share, DisplaySearch said. Helping the new slates gain traction will be the fact that  they will likely follow the iPads development process, Jacobs said.

"Apple has ported their successful iPhone app business model to the iPad. Android-based phones followed in their footsteps and will surely do the same with slates," he said.

Overall, the notebook category posted its highest revenue amount in two years.

Despite continuing falling prices for notebook computers, dollar revenue hit a two-year high during the first quarter, according to DisplaySearch.

The research company reported that the notebook market hit $31.1 billion during the first quarter 2010 worldwide. This is the highest total posted since the first quarter of 2008. Making this gain more impressive is average selling prices for these products were 20 percent higher in 2008, said DisplaySearch.

The mini-note/netbook/slate was the biggest gainer among the four notebook categories tracked by DisplaySearch. First-quarter sales were up 56.4 percent to $3.54 billion. DisplaySearch credited the increase to newer units having better processors and more features, thus pushing up the average selling prices.

The general notebook category continued to perform very well, generating $23.1 billion in sales during the quarter, a 30.7 percent increase, while the desktop replacement subset grew even faster. Its sales were up 37.8 percent to $2.93 billion.

The only segment to endure a drop was ultra-portables. These declined 4.3 percent to $1.8 billion. Jacobs said the ultra-portables are suffering because they are still primary an enterprise niche product.

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