Tablet sales could hurt netbooks

A DisplaySearch report said the explosion of tablet releases in 2010 will cut into the still growing netbook market.

The Apple iPad was recently released with some analysts predicting upwards of 7.1 million units sold in 2010 alone, although that number still sounds a bit too high to us.  Hewlett-Packard has its Slate tablet coming up later this year, while other manufacturers such as Nokia are also preparing their own tablets. Specifically, Dell, Lenovo and Asus are also reportedly working on their own tablet PCs that will be available before the end of the year.

Since Apple is first to market with a major new computing product, the iPad has a relatively unsaturated market that it can dominate, for now. The tablet will be especially popular in North america and Western Europe, though DisplaySearch doesn’t expect Apple to sell the same amount as predicted by other analyst groups.

Q1 netbook sales for 2010 should yield growth, but growth over the next three quarters will likely be slowed due to the rise in tablets.

Tablet sales could hurt netbooks

Regardless of tablet and netbook sales compared to one another, it’s obvious consumers are looking to leave behind regular-size notebooks in favor of the smaller, lighter, netbook and tablet devices.

Netbooks are seen as cheaper than notebooks — a plus with consumers, but disappointing for manufacturers and retailers looking to turn a higher profit.

Tablet popularity in the remaining three quarters of this year, as well as product marketing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) next year, should help gauge the future market for netbooks and tablets.