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 of 1,142 consumers conducted by ABI Research in March, 2011 reveal that netbooks and media tablets are actually neck-and-neck in terms of consumer interest. 25% of respondents 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.
But according to mobile devices group director Jeff Orr, “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.”
Although media tablets are grabbing today’s headlines, they still face some challenges to adoption. “What activities can media tablets perform that are not already well-addressed by laptop/netbook PCs or smartphones?” Orr asks. “This remains the single largest barrier to consumer interest.”
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. Orr says, “This change is consistent with potential buyers realigning expectations to match modern netbook capabilities.”
The survey’s results, covering interest, ownership, price expectations, desired features and more, are summarized in three new ABI Research releases, “Awareness and Adoption of Netbooks”, “Awareness and Adoption of Media Tablets”, and Awareness and Adoption of eBook Readers.
All are included in the firm’s Tablets, Netbooks, and Mobile CE Research Service.
ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 40+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit www.abiresearch.com, or call +1.516.624.2500.
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