Tablets Expected To Overtake Netbooks By 2015

Reports have recently been published looking at the effect of the iPad on the shipment of netbooks, and while the early data seemed to be less than conclusive, more modern data seems to have a different look on things. Apple managed to sell two million iPad devices in just two months, and while many million netbooks have been sold worldwide, they have the benefit of being available in nearly every country. But will tablets as a whole hurt the sales of netbooks as a whole? Maybe.

According to a new Forrester report on the subject, the tablet industry as a whole, which will gain a lot of new players between now and this time next year, could soar to sell 20.4 million units in 2015. That's compared to just 3.5 million this year, but the new wave of Tablet PCs are in the earliest of stages, and only a few are actually available to purchase. That's a compound annual growth rate of 42%, and if the report is true, more people will use tablets than netbooks by 2014, and by 2015, tablets will make up 23% of all PC sales.

That's a pretty amazing figure. Of course, it's just research, but these guys have a history of doing this the right way. Forrester Research Analyst Sarah Rotman Epps had this to say about the report: "Tablet growth will come at the expense of Netbooks, which have a similar grab-and-go media consumption and Web browsing use case as tablets but don't synchronize data across services like the iPad does. Consumers didn't ask for tablets. In fact, Forrester's data shows that the top features consumers say they want in a PC are a complete mismatch with the features of the iPad. But Apple is successfully teaching consumers to want this new device."

What will be interesting to see is how netbooks change over the next five years to combat the increase in attention given to tablets. Will they grow thinner and more powerful? Larger? More unique in form factor? We doubt the existing netbook will look like the netbook of 2015, while tablets can only take so many shapes and still be considered a tablet. So, do you think the tablet or netbook will win the eventual sales war? It ought to be an interesting fight if nothing else.