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New Media Tablet and Netbook PC Coexistence

In February, 2009, ABI Research forecast that approximately 35 million netbook PCs would ship into world markets that year. Some viewed that estimate as unrealistically high. However, the final 2009 shipment total reached 36.3 million netbook devices. The upside potential for netbooks this year is equally positive.

In 2010, netbook shipments are expected to reach 58 million while a new element has been added to the mobile consumer electronics market equation -- the media tablet, initially personified by the affordable Amazon Kindle and now the Apple iPad.

How will mobile CE markets react to a new device, so soon after the start of the netbook phenomenon?

"We expect the netbook market to fragment according to different regional value propositions," says principal analyst Jeff Orr.

Functionality will be added to mainstream netbook products while at the same time an entry-level netbook solution will grow, with the aim of targeting some large emerging markets (including China and India ) where PC penetration is still quite low.

At the same time, ABI sees the pace of netbook market growth slowing to a CAGR of 23 percent, as media tablets start to steal some netbook market share. Their latest market study conservatively forecasts media tablet sales of about eight million in 2010.

"Apple's claimed shipments of one million iPads in the first month are impressive starting from zero," says Orr, "but even our total media tablet forecast falls far short of what anyone would call mass market adoption."

While it was understood that Apple could put together a good consumer solution and take significant early market share, there are lots of opportunities for others -- it's a question of how they come to market: solo, as Apple has done, or in conjunction with mobile network operator and retail distribution partners.

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