LONDON – Netbook computers are of nearly equal interest to consumers as tablet computers, according to a survey conducted by market research firm ABI Research.
A survey of 1,142 consumers conducted by ABI Research in March, 2011 found that netbook computers and media tablets are neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest. Some 25 percent of respondents rated themselves as either "extremely" or "very" interested in acquiring a netbook, while for media tablets, the number was 27 percent.
"Nearly half of those surveyed, however, report that they are either 'not very' or 'not at all' interested in purchasing a media tablet. The most common reason for the lack of interest is 'I don't see the need,' selected by 60 percent of this group," said Jeff Orr, mobile devices group director at ABI, in a statement.
The tablet computer is being perceived as suitable for entertainment and the most likely applications for use on the platform are, according to the survey:
82 percent intend to use email
71 percent expect to use a web browser
57 percent plan to watch TV or download movies
56 percent intend to use social networking
55 percent plan to play games
Purchases of the netbooks and tablet computers are likely to result in a prolonged PC lifecycle due to a delay in desktop and laptop replacement, ABI said. The firm conducted a similar survey on netbooks in 2009, when interest levels were shown to be higher. Moreover, the netbook use-case appears to be changing, from a focus on productivity applications towards the consumption of entertainment content.
Orr said: "This change is consistent with potential buyers realigning expectations to match modern netbook capabilities."
An equivalent headline would have been "Tablets Surpass Netbooks in Popularity". The data is really telling us that there is no one-size-fits-all technology. Laptops, desktops, netbooks, smartphones, and tablets each have strengths and weaknesses and adapt differently to specific use cases.