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Worldwide PC market data from Canalys revealed Apple’s release of the iPad
tablet helped it jump into the top five PC vendors, capturing approximately 6
percent of the portable PC segment in Q2 2010, with over 3 million units
shipped during the device’s first few months on the market. Conversely, the
report found growth in the netbook market continued to slow, as vendors
struggled to deliver new product innovations.

Canalys reported that it expects the pad PC market to reach 12.5 million
units in 2010, growing to 66 million by the end of 2014. Due to its
first-to-market advantage, the company also anticipated that Apple will continue
to lead the market through at least 2011. However, as more vendors enter the
market, the report noted, there will be a period of experimentation with a
range of various models aimed at both consumer and enterprise customers.

“Apart from the ‘Apple effect,’ the iPad owes its success to a lack of
advancement in other portable computing segments, such as netbooks,” said Chris
Jones, Canalys vice president and principal analyst. “To capture share moving
forward, PC makers will have to take the netbook to the next level or go after
new customer segments with their own pads.”

Jones said the key to creating a great user experience on a connected mobile
device is ensuring that the hardware and software work together in harmony, and
predicted platforms such as Android, iOS, WebOS and possibly BlackBerry, as
well as Chrome, MeeGo and Windows, are likely to battle it out in the pad
market over the next three years.

Canalys forecast that pads and netbooks will continue to coexist in the
portable PC market for some time. As the pad represents an additional luxury
purchase to a certain extent, customers may eventually choose between the two
devices, causing the netbook market to soften as vendors develop their pad
offerings, the company noted in the report. Canalys expects pads to eventually
overtake netbooks in 2012.

“As the number of consumers with multiple devices increases, it will also be
important for pads to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment. In addition
to synchronization capabilities, vendors should be prepared to take a strategic
look at content—all-important, but often overlooked,” said Canalys senior
analyst Natalie Spitz. “With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices with
all-day battery life, consumers have become accustomed to a world of always-on
connectivity. It’s only natural then, that these same consumers would demand
similar features across all of their portable computing devices.”