NEW YORK, USA: It has been suggested that media tablets are slowly killing the netbook market, and that both device types are “cannibalizing” sales of personal computers.
Results of a survey of 1,142 consumers conducted by ABI Research in March, 2011 reveal that netbooks and media tablets are neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest. 25 percent of respondents rated themselves as either “extremely” or “very” interested in acquiring a netbook, while for media tablets, the number was 27 percent. Purchases of these companion devices are likely to result in a prolonged PC lifecycle and delay replacement.
But, according to mobile devices group director Jeff Orr: “Nearly half of those surveyed, however, report that they are either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ interested in purchasing a media tablet. The most common reason for the lack of interest is ‘I don’t see the need,’ selected by 60 percent.”
Although media tablets are grabbing today’s headlines, they still face some challenges to adoption. “What activities can media tablets perform that are not already well-addressed by laptop/netbook PCs or smartphones?” Orr asks. “This remains the single largest barrier to consumer interest.”
A little more than half believe that the primary use for the media tablet will be entertainment. In line with this result, entertainment-related applications are the ones that most people report they would likely use on the media tablet:
* 82 percent intend to use email.
* 71 percent expect to use a web browser.
* 57 percent plan to watch TV or download movies.
* 56 percent intend to use social networking.
* 55 percent plan to play games.
ABI Research conducted a similar survey on netbooks in 2009, when interest levels were shown to be higher. Moreover, the netbook use-case appears to be changing, from a focus on productivity applications towards the consumption of entertainment content. Orr says, “This change is consistent with potential buyers realigning expectations to match modern netbook capabilities.”