Netbooks seen going the way of the dodo

Staff writer, with CNA

Thu, May 02, 2013 - Page 13

Netbooks will fade out of the personal computer market over the next three years as the category continues to be squeezed by tablet devices and high-end notebook PCs, IHS iSuppli said on Monday.

Worldwide shipments of smaller and inexpensive laptops are forecast to amount to only 3.97 million units this year, a 72 percent plunge from 14.13 million units last year, the research firm said in a report.

The market will contract to 264,000 units next year and will be down to zero by 2015, the report said.

Netbooks had steadily climbed for three years after the devices were first introduced in 2007 by Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), peaking in 2010 when shipments hit a record high of 32.14 million units, according to the report.

The start of the decline coincided with the introduction in 2010 of Apple Inc’s iPad tablet, with netbook shipments diving 34 percent the following year on what would become an irreversible decline, said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for computer systems at IHS iSuppli.

At the other end of the spectrum, high-end laptops were also making an appearance, offering premium performance, which led consumers to lose more interest in netbooks due to a lack of computing power or touch-screen capabilities, Stice said.

In March, Asustek said its netbook shipments totaled 3.1 million units last year, down 37 percent from 4.9 million units in 2011.