Prices, Power Make a Difference

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-04-05 Print this article Print


5. Notebook prices are coming down

No matter the budget, consumers and enterprise customers can go out right now and find a suitable notebook for a fine price. Dozens of notebooks are available on the Web for as little as $500 for a solid option and even less for more outdated products. That's an outstanding value, considering the cheapest iPad 2 starts at $499. When it comes to customers evaluating how far their dollars can go with either a tablet or notebook, it might be hard for them to choose the former. At this point, notebooks are the value kings.

6. The market for productivity

In the enterprise, much of the focus for IT staffs is productivity. They constantly evaluate how much they can get out of employees with the technology they have in place. One of the biggest issues with devices like the iPad 2 is that they can be productivity drains. People are using them to watch Netflix content, listen to music and play games through the App Store. Moreover, usage on a tablet is a bit more difficult to track. Yes, all those nonproductive exploits can be engaged in on a notebook, but companies can do a better job of modifying actions on a notebook than they can a tablet. And they're fully aware of that fact.

7. Apple isn't universally beloved

As nice as the iPad 2 might be, to say that a single device will ever be able to kill off an entire category of products is ludicrous. Apple is not universally beloved by the market. In fact, there are many folks out there who are decidedly anti-Apple. So, although the iPad 2 is hurting notebook sales on its own, the chances of it actually killing off notebooks are nil.

8. Tablets themselves aren't universally beloved either

The same can be said for the tablet market as a whole. When sales figures emerge and iPad 2 units aren't on store shelves, it's easy for some folks to think that tablets are catching on with everyone. But they're not. In fact, there are millions around the globe who have tried tablets out and determined they weren't for them. And for the most part, those people who don't want tablets are turning to notebooks to satisfy their mobile needs.

9. The market is too big

According to market research firm IDC, more than 93 million PCs shipped around the world during the fourth quarter of 2010, alone. That figure, which included desktops, mobile PCs and mininotebooks (but not tablets), easily bested the 15 million iPad units Apple sold last year. It also easily bests Gartner's estimate from last year, saying that nearly 55 million tablets will ship in 2011. Although notebooks didn't account for all 93 million PCs shipped in the fourth quarter, it made up a sizable chunk of it. And that was just one quarter. To kill off notebooks would be a feat unlike anything ever witnessed in the mobile-productivity space.

10. Power, power, power

As mentioned, the operating systems available on tablets are not as powerful as they could be. But it's not just that. Tablets themselves lack the power that notebooks offer. Devices like Apple's MacBook Pro are suitable for resource-intensive tasks, like editing video and even high-end gaming. The iPad 2 can perform those activities on a much simpler level. Serious users who need a high-end processor, ample RAM and a big hard drive won't find those in a tablet. And until that changes, notebooks will be here to stay.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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