Netbooks were created to fill the gap between laptops and smartphones, and they sold like hotcakes for a while. Now, a study has found that the category is in freefall.
IHS iSuppli predicted just 264,000 netbooks will be shipped in 2014 and none will go out in 2015.
“Netbooks shot to popularity immediately after launch because they were optimized for low cost, delivering what many consumers believed as acceptable computer performance,” wrote Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for computer platforms at IHS, in the report. “However, netbooks began their descent to oblivion with the introduction in 2010 of Apple’s iPad.”
The IHS study reported that netbook shipments were 32.14 million when the iPad hit the market, but just 14.13 million last year. This year, IHS predicts only 3.97 million will be shipped, a drop of 72% in just 12 months.
“The problem is netbooks aren’t better at anything,” the late Steve Jobs was quoted as saying once. “They are slow, they have low-quality displays, and they run clunky, old PC software. We don’t think they’re a third-category device.”