It has been suggested by some that media tablets are slowly killing the netbook market, and that both device types are “cannibalizing” sales of personal computers. But results of a survey conducted by ABI Research in March reveal that netbooks and media tablets are actually neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest. Unfortunately, the finding has a number of caveats.
From 1142 respondents, 25% rated themselves as either “extremely” or “very” interested in acquiring a netbook, while for media tablets, the number was 27%. Purchases of these companion devices are likely to result in a prolonged PC lifecycle and delay replacement. Unfortunately, ABI does not indicate how many of 1142 are interested in acquiring a notebook or a desktop. Without such numbers it could be imagined that traditional PCs are dead, which is completely not true.
“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% of this group," said Jeff Orr, the director of mobile devices group, at ABI.
Although media tablets are grabbing today’s headlines, they still face a number of challenges to adoption. For instance, a big question is what activities can media tablets perform that are not already well-addressed by laptop/netbook PCs or smartphones? Naturally, with no clear answer from developers, the question is a natural adoption barrier for the consumers.
Among those, interested in tablets, a little more than half believe that the primary use for the media tablet will be entertainment. In line with this result, entertainment-related applications are the ones that most people report they would likely use on the media tablet:
- 82% intend to use email
- 71% expect to use a web browser
- 57% plan to watch TV or download movies
- 56% intend to use social networking
- 55% plan to play games
ABI Research 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.
“This change is consistent with potential buyers realigning expectations to match modern netbook capabilities," said Mr. Orr.