SAN JOSE, Calif. Netbooks will continue to command the lion's share of a rapidly growing and segmenting market for mobile systems, according to projections from ABI Research.
About 35 million netbooks shipped in 2009, representing nearly all the shipments of mobile systems that exist between smartphones and notebook computers, ABI said in a recent Webinar. The market watcher said by 2014 five types of emerging mobile systems—including smartbooks and media tablets--will rise to total sales of about 325 million units with netbooks commanding more than half those sales.
Netbooks will continue to dominate a rapidly segmenting mobile device sector. Source: ABI Research
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Netbooks are driving toward prices of $200, providing a strong value proposition in a down economy where low-end notebooks cost $400 or more, said Jeff Orr, a senior analyst for mobile devices at ABI. To get even wider penetration, vendors will try to drive netbooks to about $160 to bolster sales in China.
Smartbooks--ARM-based devices using a mobile OS and broadband modem--could rise to sales of 163 million in 2015, Orr added. He characterized smartbooks as a subset of netbooks rather than a new category, but one that could enable new form factors and disruptive business models based on cloud services.
Despite the recent hype around the Apple iPad, Orr was somewhat less bullish on media tablets which he estimated would ship in volumes of less than 50 million units by 2014. Media tablets will have a distinctly different personality than the tablet PCs which have shipped in low volumes for business users for several years, he said.
Orr also called out broad categories of mobile Internet devices and mobile consumer electronics devices which will emerge over the next five years. Like the other categories they will be defined by providing access to the Internet, he said.