Tablets Will Finish Off Netbooks in 2011: 10 Reasons Why

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Tablets Will Finish Off Netbooks in 2011: 10 Reasons Why

by Don Reisinger

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They Win on Mobility

When it comes to netbooks and tablets, consumers and enterprise customers have one thing in mind: they want their tech companions to be mobile. Admittedly, both netbooks and tablets are quite mobile. But tablets are arguably more mobile. They are easier to carry around and they tend to be quite lightweight. Netbooks are a bit more bulky, and that could hurt them next year.

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Apple's Presence

Apple is a major presence in the tablet industry. Its product, the iPad, is delivering far more value to the average consumer than any netbook on the market. Thats important to keep in mind. As usable as netbooks are, thanks to their full operating systems and physical keyboards, they dont have the same "innovation factor" that Apple delivers. As a result, tablets are capturing consumers attention.

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Netbooks Are Boring

Lets face it: Netbooks are boring. Sure, they deliver on the productivity needs of enterprise customers in some ways, but that doesnt necessarily mean that theyre as attractive. Tablets feature touch screens, they have mobile apps, and they offer more aesthetically pleasing designs. Theyre the "cool" thing. Netbooks cant match that.

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Vendors Are Going That Way

When its all said and done, vendors will decide the netbooks fate in 2011. Unfortunately for netbooks, it doesnt seem that many vendors are willing to stick with netbooks over tablets. In fact, every major PC maker from Dell to HP to Acer is investing in tablets in 2011. If those devices perform well at retail, it will only hurt the netbooks chances of surviving.

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Touch Screens Matter

The major issue with netbooks is that they lack touch screens. When the iPad first launched and critics started comparing tablets to netbooks, they believed that the touch screen would be a liability for those that wanted to get actual work done. But in retrospect, it hasnt been anything of the sort. Companies across the globe are becoming more inclined to opt for tablets. It wasnt expected, but its most certainly happening.

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The Enterprise Isn't Sold on Netbooks

When netbooks were all the rage in 2009, the enterprise was considered the most logical place for the computers to perform well. But as 2010 draws to a close, its clear now that the enterprise wasnt necessarily sold on netbooks. Quite the contrary, the corporate world seems to be fine with notebooks for more important tasks. Tablets or smartphones also work well for simpler needs. The netbook just doesnt fit within that strategy.

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Cisco and RIM Are Serious

The enterprise sees potential in upcoming tablets from Cisco and RIM. The Cius from Cisco and the BlackBerry PlayBook from RIM promise to specifically cater to enterprise customers. Perhaps more importantly, the software running on those devices will offer IT staff the ability to control user permissions far more effectively than they can on other tablets. Along the way, they will make tablets all the more viable to corporate customers.

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The App Advantage

Consumers and enterprise customers are finding that there is value to be had in using mobile third-party apps. They might not deliver the same power that Windows programs can muster, but given how underpowered netbooks are anyway, the experience of using more advanced programs on a netbook isnt much of a step up.

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Android Popularity

Interest in the Android mobile operating system has exploded in the past year. Based on its growth rate in 2010, most analysts believe it could at least come close to matching Symbians worldwide market share in 2014. After that, it could become the top mobile OS in the world. Because of that, consumers and enterprise customers are warming to the idea of running the operating system. In the process, theyre thinking twice about opting for the Windows-based netbook.

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Security (over the Short-Term)

When it comes to enterprise computing specifically, security is a major concern. At least in the short-term, security is one place where tablets, especially those running iOS and Android, win out. After all, Windows-borne malware cannot attack other operating systems. With Flash blocked on iOS, some of the security concerns related to that technology are eliminated. That doesnt mean there arent any security concerns with mobile operating systems—there are—but they are less worrisome than on netbooks running Windows.

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