Way back in May we proposed that tablets are this year's netbooks, and there has been much subsequent speculation about the extent to which tablets are ‘cannibalising' the netbook market.
A report from market researcher IDC concludes that, while some netbook sales are being lost to the nascent tablet market, it's far from a fatal blow. IDC expects the netbook market to grow over ten percent to 37.8 million units this year, peaking at 42.4 million units in 2014.
"IDC does not expect media tablets to bring about the death of mini notebooks, although there's no question that the focus of attention has shifted to these newer devices," said Bob O'Donnell, of IDC.
"Given the range of capabilities and price points, it is very likely that consumers will acquire these devices in various combinations, simply delaying the purchase of a new notebook, for example, to add a media tablet or mini notebook as a companion to their main computing device.
"Similarly, the arrival of media tablets has done little to diminish the demand for mini notebooks in the educational market, particularly in developing countries where large government initiatives are gaining steam in the post-recession economy."
The continued growth is coming mainly from developing markets, such as Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa, with the education sector being the primary player. Let's not forget that's how netbooks originated, with OLPC and all that. Also, while tablets are newer and sexier, they run on mobile chips and OSs. Netbooks are Wintel devices, with all the familiarity and productivity advantages that entails.
Acer and ASUS continue to be the major netbook vendors, with nearly half the market between them. HP, surprisingly, is number three, while Samsung has overtaken Dell to become the fourth biggest netbook maker.