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Market research company DisplaySearch said that netbooks and slate-type personal computers will be the fastest growing PC products segments this year. Nevertheless, the market share of tablets will be negligible and will only reach approximately 2.3% of all portable personal computers.

For 2010, the total portable PC market is expected to grow to 215 million units and $117 billion, according to a new report by DisplaySearch. The netbook and tablet categories will be the fastest-growing segment of the portable PC market for 2010, propelled in part by the introduction of slates. However, clamshell style devices will continue to grow as well. Moreover, year-on-year growth of notebooks will not be much behind that of netbooks and tablets (25% vs. 28.5%). DisplaySearch expects slates to take some market share from clamshell-style netbook PCs, as well as lure customers that desire more functionality away from the e-reader market.

Even though tablet PCs will show rather dramatic increase in sales, the market research company only expects around five million units to ship in 2010. Therefore, the actual share of slate PCs will be around 2.3% of all portable personal computers or even lower, if consider the fact that a lot of slates will feature platforms from mobile phones with large screens, which is why it makes sense to compare them to smartphones as well.

According to DisplaySearch, the majority of slate volume will ship into the North American and Western European markets due, in large part, to distribution plans for Apple iPad and known content agreements.

DisplaySearch expects continued strong growth in emerging markets and a recovery of B2B spending in the second half of the year to lead to 25.7% year-on-year growth as the market surges towards 215 million units.

Strong unit growth and lower erosion of average selling prices (ASPs) in 2010 will combine to grow portable PC market revenue to almost $117 billion, recovering to 2008 levels. Revenue growth is forecast to be strongest in the netbook/slate category due to the introduction of higher-priced products. ASPs for netbooks have steadily eroded from $400 down to just under $300, DisplaySearch notes, meanwhile, Apple iPad has ASPs that start at $499 and increase to more than $800.

 “We expect that, like Apple’s iPad, slates from other brands will be positioned as content consumption and manipulation devices, and the necessity of focusing on industrial design and features will result in ASPs that are higher than those of mini-notes. The low ASPs of mini-notes have been a concern to component suppliers, OEMs/ODMs, brands and retailers, due to the thinner margins and lower revenue generation of the devices. Slates – especially those that will be able to mimic Apple’s content library, model of content delivery, and their very successful App Store – will be able to generate greater revenue and healthier margins for the brands that build them, the retailers that sell them, and many of the component makes in the supply chain,” noted John Jacobs, director of notebook market research at DisplaySearch.

Tags: Apple, iPad, Intel


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