Forrester Research said tablets, led by Apple's iPad, will cannibalize netbooks in 2012 and outsell netbooks by 2014. Google's Chrome Operating System is rolling out on netbooks, likely from Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo this holiday season. What kind of chance do these machines stand in a market that is clearly becoming controlled by the iPad, and eventually tablets based on Google's Android operating system? Analysts debate the issue.
Spurred by the success of Apple's iPad, the tablet
computer market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 42 percent and
gobble up sales that would have normally gone to netbooks.
Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps
said tablets will cannibalize netbooks in 2012 and outsell netbooks by 2014, partly
because netbooks don't sync data across devices the way the iPad does.
What kind of chance do these machines stand in a market
that is clearly becoming controlled by the iPad, and eventually tablets based
on Google's Android operating system?
As the tablet garden blossoms, won't
Chrome OS suffer from blight as it tries to gain traction on netbooks?
Epps, who is the author of the
Forrester report on the PC prognostications, doesn't believe so. Epps told eWEEK
Chrome OS, a lightweight OS designed for running Web applications, is more
relevant than ever.
"The world is waiting for a "born connected"
operating system to run born-connected devices," Epps said.
There will be
a lot of Google fans snapping up Chrome OS netbooks because of the company's
cachet and the notion of a computer OS that relies on the cloud and Web apps
instead of the classic localized, client-PC model.
Still, Epps said that while the growth of consumer cloud
storage and Chrome OS will keep netbooks alive, their moment of hypergrowth has
Starting in 2012, tablets will outsell netbooks, eventually comprising
23 percent of PC units sales versus 17 percent of netbooks by 2015.
A Google spokesperson said Chrome OS remains on schedule
to appear on netbooks later this year, but declined to comment on the Forrester
report. Other analysts weren't as shy.