Yes, that time is upon us: the netbook is slowly dying, with sales slowing down and tablets taking over the position the cheap, low-end notebooks used to occupy. According to ABI Research (via BGR), in Q2 2011 tablet sales accelerated to completely dominate netbooks, shipping 13.6 million to just 7.3 million.
What’s even more interesting is the change compared to the previous quarter. Tablets jumped by 112% to sell 7.2 million units more, whereas netbooks slumped by 13% to fall by 1.1 million units. Also, it appears as though the sizeable price difference between tablets and netbooks is not an issue for consumers, as often a tablet can cost twice that of a netbook.
It’s really not surprising to see this trend and buying shift occurring. Netbooks have always been slower, more annoying and visually less appealing than tablet offerings, especially those tablets from Apple which also carry massive brand-buying power. Tablets also often have better features than their netbook counterparts, such as proper gaming support with better graphics, rear facing cameras and fluid interfaces.
Of course the lack of a physical keyboard on a tablet may be a turn off for some people; however tablets are still successfully attacking these markets with devices such as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the optional iPad keyboard. Speaking of the iPad, Apple’s own tablet with mass brand appeal managed to snag 68% of the tablets shipped in Q2.
The only real direction the netbook will head is down, as tablets simply continue to provide a better option for consumers.