Death to the netbook, long live the netbook

While the netbook's days may be numbered. I put that number at about 365.

http://images.smh.com.au/2010/02/02/1085586/420-ipad-kindle-tablet-420x0.jpgZDNet's own Larry Dignan has a great post up this morning in which he concludes that netbooks are quickly being relegated to a niche.

In three years, the netbook may be just a nice footnote to the industry. The demise of the netbook has been predicted before. Now we seem to be at an inflection point where the anti-netbook bandwagon is filling up.

A major contributing factor, it appears, is the iPad. At least according to a report out by Retrevo.

The Retrevo Pulse Study asked netbook, laptop, and iPad owners and buyers what products they considered this past year and what they ended up buying. It also asked what they are currently considering and which products they are leaning toward.

Study Highlights:

  • After the iPad was announced in January, 40% of people surveyed held off on buying a netbook, and bought an iPad instead.
  • 30% of people surveyed held off buying a netbook after the iPad was announced in January. Then, they bought a netbook.
  • Of people currently looking to buy an iPad or Netbook, 78% of them are leaning toward an iPad. 22% are leaning toward a netbook.
  • Of people who bought a laptop or netbook last year, 35% choose a netbook. 65% chose a laptop.
  • Of people who are looking to buy either a laptop or a netbook this year, 35% are looking to buy a netbook. 65% of them are looking to buy a laptop.

Retrevo asked people who were considering buying an iPad or a netbook: Did you hold off on buying a netbook after the iPad was announced in January?

  • 30% No. I went ahead and bought a netbook.
  • 40% "Yes. But I eventually bought a netbook.
  • 30% "Yes. And I bought an iPad.

Pretty damning report for the netbook but there are still somethings that a netbook/notebook do better than a tablet, take video conferencing for example. And while you can write small to medium form pieces on a virtual keyboard and medium to long form on a Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard dock, it still feels like a kludge to me.

The netbook and notebook still have about another year lead on the tablet but after then, all bets are off.

Image: Sydney Morning Herald

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