Death of netbook platform imminent


Death of netbook platform imminent

Microscope contributor

Lenovo believes the end of the netbook is in sight and claims the platform will quickly be subsumed by the slate tablet space as competition in the sector heats up.

By its own admission the mini-notebook is not a major priority for the Chinese PC giant as mainstream notebook and all-in-one desktops take centre stage in its nascent consumer operation.

"There are some big players in the netbook space, it is competitive and the price points are extremely low," said Neil Berville, executive director for the UK and Ireland at Lenovo.

"Our view is that netbooks will get eaten very quickly by iPads and slate products that are coming by the end of the year and early next. The end of netbooks' life is on the horizon," he told MicroScope.

Netbook sales in the second quarter represented up to 30% of the consumer portables space in the UK, according to IDC numbers, but research manager Eszter Morvay said the segment was in decline and the 2011 sales forecast had been downgraded.

"We are seeing budgets shift back toward mainstream notebooks after consumer delayed renewals over the last eighteen months.

"The second argument for the fall of netbooks is that the push from the telco channel is slowing considerably; generally speaking they got burnt and were disappointed by the ROI from the PC market, so many are cautious," she said.

But perhaps the biggest challenge facing netbooks is the rise of the media tablet, pioneered by Apple's iPad, which by Christmas will be competing against a number of rival products.

"We expect product releases to ramp in 2011 onwards so the cannibalisation of netbook will be even quicker," she added.

In the second quarter, Lenovo shipped just 2,400 netbooks in the UK giving it a 0.7% market share, said IDC, putting it in a comparatively similar position to HP which has not expressed great desires for the low-cost sector either.

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