iPad Forecast to Kill the Netbook
Are netbooks going the way of the dodo? With reports out that netbook sales growth slowed significantly in Q1 and prognostications recently from more than one analyst firm that Apple iPad (and the coming tide of slate competitors) will cannibalize netbook sales in coming years, channel partners need to take stock. After steep growth in the netbook market for the last two years, many within the channel have grown to depend on the easy netbook sell, even if it has eaten up some of the demand for higher-priced laptops within customer environments. Financial analysts such as Barclays and Goldman Sachs reported recently that they're betting on Apple to vacuum up sales that would once have gone to a netbook with its iPad device. And that's just one stage of the competition. With heavy hitters such as Cisco, Dell and HP expected to soon release slate devices to compete with iPad, and a growing contingent of manufacturers letting loose new ARM-based smartbook devices that meld the features of smartphones with netbooks, the traditional netbook is bound to look less attractive to some customers. Here's a look at the numbers.