"We still think the mini-notebook has a place in the mobile PC market, but not as a substitute for a standard mobile PC," Gartner analyst Raphael Vasquez said. "Indeed, the recent decline in mini-notebooks' share of the mobile PC market reflects a general realization among buyers that mini-notebooks are less-than-perfect substitutes for standard low-end laptops."
Rather than buy a netbook, people are turning to low-end standard laptops, which have prices that are close enough to make them a better option as an only PC. Gartner says netbooks are becoming a niche product as a second, more portable PC that someone may carry for checking email or web browsing. Within that niche, netbooks are expected to face growing competition from the emerging category of tablet-style computers, such as Apple's iPad. Major computer makers, such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard, are preparing to release their own tablets.
"The iPad hasn't had much of an impact on mini-notebook units so far, if only because it is generally priced higher than most mini-notebooks," Gartner researcher George Shiffler said. "However, we anticipate lower-priced iPad imitations will begin to take larger bites out of mini-notebook units as they are released next year." FURTHER READING: