NPD: The iPad Has Sights Set on eReaders not Netbooks

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5 Oct, 2010 2:40 am

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Sensational headlines have been taking the stage since the iPad was released and every other person I talk to at a conference always ask me what my new site will be called since Netbooks are obviously dead. I always set them straight letting them know that, yes netbooks sales have evened out, but they have evened out at 20% of all mobile computing sales. Netbooks have been growth sky rocketed cannibalizing notebook sales and has calmed down, to 20% of the mobile computing market. I’m not sure if you have caught on to the fact that 20% is a good chunk of the market and growth could not continue at this pace since they are a secondary device. The argument always continues with tablets replacing netbooks and the poor misinformed sap at the other end of the conversation actually thinks the iPad is actually killing the netbook. Apart from my explaining the stabilization of netbook sales and the usage scenario of netbooks and tablets we finally have a study with numbers proving my point!!


Researchers over at NPD have put out a study that actually attempts to find out what kind of niche the iPad is filling and what kind of people are buying them. I’m happy to report that only 13 percent of iPad users claim to have bought it tablet rather then buying a PC. And nearly twice as many say they decided to pick one up instead of a dedicated eBook reader though. So the more accurate statement is that the iPad is killing eBook Readers!!

What else did NPD uncover in this report? That iPad owners are more likely to own Apple products, which doesn’t surprise me since Apple fans are fanatics! Something a little less obvious was as reported that the most popular iPad activities include web surfing, reading and replying to email, and playing games. While you could make the case that these are exactly the activities people use netbooks for, a Windows or Linux powered netbook also makes it easier to edit documents and perform other activities that are easiest with a physical keyboard, so I don’t think PC makers have too much to worry about — especially since the numbers seem to show that iPads are not responsible for any significant change in the netbook and notebook space right now.

Thanks NPD for taking to task everyone who has been parroting the “Netbooks Are Dead” headlines!

Liliputing via NPD Press Release


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  • aftermath

    I believe that this is what they call “an inconvenient truth”. I think we can all make a list of websites on which this news won’t appear because of what is, at its most insidious, a specific agenda of activist blogging or, at its most innocent, an unwillingness to “eat crow” after so many sensational, traffic drawing headlines. Ironically, those are the exact same websites where this news should also appear, not because of the sites, but because their audience deserves the best when it comes to consumer education. Sadly, that’s exactly why they won’t run this news.

  • MidelBrascot

    i find the TWIT network with Leo Laporte to be VERY bad about this type of false trend reporting in order to fulfill their own narrative.

    it was just a couple weeks ago that Tom Merrit on TNT made an offhand comment “netbook sales are in the toilet, no doubt about that” or something to that effect. then literally on the very next show after real numbers were brought up he commented how netbook sales are still growing.

    keep in mind, these were unrelated topics on separate days that just happened to overlap, he wasnt correcting his previous days mistake. the 1st day he was just a victim of his own personal bias & the current media trends, were as the 2nd day he was reacting to real numbers.

    yes i realize the Leo is a clown & not taken seriously or very well respected amongst highend geeks, just like employee’s of CNET, PCMag, PCWorld, etc. but they should still know better than to report the way they do, they hide behind that “not real journalist” meme a little too much & have to realize that they are still adults.

    long story short, you need to visit enthusiast sites to really get any sort of accurate info on a particular topic. take guys like Chippy for example who is just about the smartest mobile enthusiast i have ever seen, it makes listening to mainstream tech like Leo & company almost unbearable. Chippy knows mobile, if he had the right connections he could be executive level talent at any of the big consumer product focused providers Apple, HP, Google, MS.

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  • Anonymous

    I’ve mentioned this elsewhere but it’s the bloggers and “so called” experts who are killing off netbooks. You people (sorry to stereotype) are confused yourself about what exactly is a netbook. The result? Pigeonholing netbooks into something that is back assward. Not changing with the reality of netbooks is what ALL the “experts” are falling into. Based on flawed definitions, you are in fact responsible for killing off the beloved netbook that you apparently love so much. How so?

    Netbook according to 95% of the high ranking blog sites consider netbooks to be low powered computers. Um, so now, according to your own definition, netbooks are dead because we now have dual core. Aha, add ION and guess what, it’s certainly not a netbook right because it can do gaming quite well and isn’t a slug speed wise. It’s funny that the “experts” are the ones putting the limitations and confusion in the marketplace. I’m sure dual core and fast netbooks will have “experts” scratching their heads. Hmm, what to do. Do we have to tell the public that netbook doesn’t mean gutless and is more about a light portable laptop?? When will the light bulb come on?

    Next, what about price? Oh, so you slap a Window 7 premium or 2 gigs of ram or a bigger hard drive or ION and then suddenly it’s not a netbook right? That’s what the experts say. So even though it walks and talks like a duck it’s not a duck because afterall, it’s not priced so cheap so therefore it’s not a netbook anymore. That dual core ION netbook with big battery isn’t a netbook according to experts. It’s too damn expensive to be a netbook. Is that correct?

    I won’t start on the whole “it has to be 10″ or less to be a netbook”, but when Atom 11 or 12″ laptops show up, you certainly won’t call those netbooks. When the public is given the opportunity to buy an 11″ laptop with Atom, of course the experts won’t call that an netbook. And shame on Asus for calling their 12″ Atom based Eee PC a netbook. They are wrong, and the keyboard warriors are the ones who are right?? And when the public realizes that 11″ is actually the best because of keyboard and HD resolution and they become the new standard, nope. The experts won’t call them netbooks. The netbook is now strickly the 10″ computers. Correct?

    So, at the end of the day, the stubborn and short sighted, or should I say brainwashed/sheep of Intel who write about netbooks will be left with squat. By your own sword, you bring about the death. Only the forward thinking people on the web who consider netbook to be the cosmetic makeup of a laptop and not the insides, will keep netbooks alive. It’s completely lame to me. Frustrating is another word.

    Personally I hope that the “experts” are left behind. Netbooks will only survive if they are covered by experts who are forward thinking. Putting a limitation on a netbook is foolish.

    In summary, scratch gutless from the netbook definition. Scratch cheap from the netbook definition. Scratch 10″ from your definition. If you don’t then I agree, netbooks are bound to fail if the “experts” have the say on it. What if you said back then that netbooks are only 9″? Then what? Netbooks were actually dead more than a year ago. Where are the 9″ netbooks? Nowhere. 10″ netbooks should go bye bye like the 8 and 9″. Intel decided on 10″. As a consumer, 11″ is the ideal. There is nothing wrong with “netbook” and “premium netbook”. At the end of the day what would you do as an “expert”. Take out that 11″ AMD or 12″ iCore laptop and constantly correct people who ask you about your “netbook”? Think about it. You’re right and they are all wrong? The public is wrong?

    gemaster
    aka gman

  • Anonymous

    In the first place, I don’t agree at all that netbooks are dying.. just sales slowing down as the market gets saturated / people become educated but it’s still a huge market.

    I fail to see any relevance on bloggers’ definitions of netbooks “killing off” netbooks. In what way? Putting people off from buying netbooks? How does a blogger having a “correct” definition of a netbook improve the netbook market?

  • http://www.netbooknews.com Nicole Scott

    Here Here!

    I actually just published an article talking about how ridiculous the notion of netooks dying off are. There are some websites like Liliputing.com who argue that the netbook category is still experiencing slight growth!

    But before we go there, you should all check out how eReaders are suffering from the emergence of the tablet, NOT netbooks!!
    http://www.netbooknews.com/10928/npd-the-ipad-has-sights-set-on-ereaders-not-netbooks/

  • Anonymous

    I get what you’re saying about a netbook definition already (we’ve been over that several times and I like some parts of your definitions) but I am not seeing how this is killing the netbook market – the only things you mention in this regard is that it confuses consumers and blogs are covering less. Confused consumers are less likely to buy netbooks? Netbook blogs have always covered 11 – 12 inchers whether they have called them netbooks or not.

    The vast majority of consumers buying netbooks don’t give a hoot about such technicalities let alone even know what’s inside these things – they don’t care that there’s an Intel Atom N450 processor inside. They don’t care that they mostly have GMA 3150 graphics and some come with ION graphics. They certainly don’t care whether or not Engadget or blog X don’t call 12-inchers netbooks or not.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the conversation.

    I agree, netbook blogs as proven lately will cover everything from tablets to ereader to laptops to yes, even netbooks. I guess I’m foolish for wanting to find a “netbook” blog that talks about “netbooks”. You can’t find one right now that covers netbooks and not tablets. I know, people blame that on the lack of netbook news. Weak excuse in my opinion. Here’s my opinion. Launch a tablet website if those are what you are covering. It’s better for the people out there looking for content on a given subject.

    You mention the problem in your reply. Netbook blogs have covered 11 and 12 inchers regardless of whether they called them netbooks or not. This is my point. Start calling them netbooks!

    So again, how are the experts killing off netbooks? Easy. Say you have 100 netbook on market. They fit your definion as cheap and powerless. Now, into 2011, they aren’t powerless. So now, the new gen of netbooks aren’t netbook by your own definition. Therefore you will start calling them laptops or notebooks. That’s fine. But you are killing off netbooks by doing that. Next, they have to be cheap right? Well if they come out with a bunch of ION netbooks, they will be more expensive. Therefore, scratch even more netbooks off your list because they are laptops or notebooks. See where I’m going? Again, if these move up to 11″ as the popular size, you’ve just scratched even more “netbooks” off you list. Next thing you know, your entire site will convert to laptops or notebooks. Bringing on the death of netbooks.

    This is called shooting yourself in the foot. I think you are missing slightly my point on this and the importance on “netbook”. I’m not going to get into that but it’s much more than keeping consumers less confused. It has more to do with search engines. Obviously most bloggers out there don’t get it. That’s fine. You go ahead and sink netbooks on your own. I won’t but that doesn’t mean my definition or point of view wins out. As I’ve noticed the so call experts, the arrogant ones, know everything. They know better than anyone else. They have to much expertise to simply what is or isn’t a netbook. And just think I haven’t even mentioned this “netbook summit” which is a summit about what exactly??

    Cheers and have a great day everyone.

    gemaster
    aka gman

  • http://www.netbooknews.de Sascha Pallenberg

    gosh i am so tired of explaining that 11-inch was, is and will never be a netbook. always the same arguements, always the same spins…
    I would recommend to you to get a blog online or start any consulting company, then define yourself as an expert and try to convince people that the 11-inch subnotebook-formfaktor which has been around for a decade is now going to be a netbook, especially when there is not a single 11-inch system available that is using netbook hardware! No more HP Mini 311 or Samsung N510, cause these systems were the only 11.6-inch ones whith an Intel Atom.
    But hold on, get a Vaio X for a thousand bucks using the menlow platform and call it high-end netbook. You know what, i actually don’t care anymore.

    Noone is killing the netbook market. Not the iPad, not you, not blogs and no so called experts..

  • http://www.netbooknews.de Sascha Pallenberg

    i am having this discussion since february now. manufacturers and researchers are constantly asking if the iPad is killing netbooks and i am constantly replying that it won’t but that it will have an effect on ebook-readers. I did this in March at the CeBIT, in May during the Netbook Summit and again in September during the AppUp Elements event.
    Guess what, noone ever looked into it, we always got the same headlines and just recently even the Best Buy thought it would be a good idea to look like a fool in public.

    I wonder what this is all about? Conspiracy theories anyone?

  • Anonymous

    Sascha nice to hear from you. We won’t rehash if possible. I will say though, I see your argument on the 11 inch form factor being around for a long time. I still think that point is irrelevant. How does the amount of time the form factor has been around have any bearing on the fact that is walk like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck? If you could explain you rationale behind the form factor I might agree with you. On the surface, that makes no sense for an argument as to why they can’t be netbooks. Again, out in public what is the perception of what type of computer you are using?

    I agree also with you that the Mini 311 and N510 and the 1101 were the only 11 inchers. Now, is that because of Intel restrictions? Or is that because the public didn’t want those? Most people out there still think the HP 311 is one of the best netbooks ever released. The issue is you can’t find them for sale. Again, not a result of people not wanting them. Demand is high in my opinion. Now that Intel has relaxed their restrictions on Atom, what if they come out with some 11″ Atom laptops? I and likely a lot of educated consumers would gladly take the 11″ Atom of the 10″ Atom laptop. I think deep down, you realize the advantages of 11″ over 10″. One inch doesn’t make it heavier and more bulky. I just gives you HD display and a full keyboard. That to me, is the ideal. So again, is it preference or is it restriction that the netbooks have been essentially limited to 10″ screens?

    I think the answer is obvious as we go into 2011. People want HD display. That is suitable on 11 and 12″ screens. 1080p is the future and you’re telling me that the 10″ HD display is workable? You’re on record as saying HD doesn’t work on 10″ screens.

    So, if you tie the threads together you can see my point. The netbook is going to die off because of the definition that people are giving it. The one thing you should fear, is that move to 11″ Atom because it will cause you fits. Don’t say it can’t happen. If Intel lets it happen, you may have to eat some crow on this. If HP releases an update HP 311 with ION 2 and the dual core Atom you’re telling me that wouldn’t be a top seller? Of course it would be. That would lead to what? Likely more Atom based 11″. That is the future dilemma you should spend some time thinking about.

    I’m advocating adding laptops based on size for the new netbook definition. Power, cheap, blah blah means next to nothing now. I appreciate the dialogue. I can tell you, don’t be shortsighted in what is possible. I’m sure when there were the first gen netbook nobody saw the 10″ size as being the standard. Ask yourself why it moved to 10″. Now ask yourself why it may end up at 11″. By your own words those aren’t netbooks so…. you could find yourself killing off “netbooks” by your own words. That’s your choice. If you’ve done research as I have you will realize the trends that are happening. I’m not making it up.

    I stand by my point. By definition, the experts who are being short sighted are narrowing and narrowing the pool of netbooks. That to me is what killing off netbook really means. Netbook sites sure they can cover tablets, laptops, notebooks, ebook readers, etc etc. But if you want a true netbook site, you will have about 25% of the 12″ and under laptops to review. Afterall they aren’t netbooks and certainly Asus is wrong for calling the 1215N a netbook…

    Cheers and have a great day everyone.

    gemaster
    aka gman

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