iPads May Be Nice, but Netbooks Still Rule

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iPads will top the publicity charts this week when they launch, but netbooks will still top the sales charts, and far outsell iPads into the foreseeable future. The iPad will remain an expensive, niche device compared to all-purpose netbooks.

You don't need to believe me about it; just look at the numbers. A recent IDC report shows netbook and notebook sales will dwarf sales of the iPad. According to the EETimes, even by 2011, after the iPad has a well-established presence, its sales will lag far behind that of netbooks. IDC estimates that 47 million netbooks will ship that year, compared to 15 million tablets, and that's tablets of all types, not just iPads. And notebook sales, meanwhile, will far outsell both, at 260 million.

A big part of the Apple pitch for the iPad is as an ebook reader, but Bob O'Donnell, vice president of clients and displays at International Data Corp, isn't convinced it will eat into sales of the Kindle or other ebook readers. According to the EETimes:

Despite the fact the iPad includes an e-book reader, many people will prefer dedicated devices using E-Ink displays rather than the LCDs on consumer tablets. "I don't care whose LCD it is, it's a lamp and people don't want to stare into lamps," he quipped.

I'm not sure that I agree with O'Donnell on this one; I think that one of the iPad's most important uses will be for reading ebooks and publications. Even so, though, when it comes to the marketplace, netbooks will sales still far outstrip those of the iPad.

This story, "iPads May Be Nice, but Netbooks Still Rule" was originally published by Computerworld.

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At a Glance
  • Apple looks set to shake up casual computing with a tablet that offers clever design and ease of use. But that streamlined approach may also be the iPad's weakness.


    • Best-in-class touch interface
    • Large display shows pics and videos beautifully
    • All-day battery life


    • No way to manage files, no camera, no multitasking
    • Lack of Flash support cripples many Web sites
    • Poor scaling of iPhone apps
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