iPad Whips Netbook Sales as Android Phones Invade Asia

ABI Research said Apple's iPad helped tablets top netbook sales in the second quarter, while the rise of low-cost and premium Android phones is boosting Asia's smartphone sales.

Tablet shipments for the second quarter totaled 13.6 million units, or nearly double the 7.3 million netbooks that shipped as Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad continued to disrupt the media market, according to ABI Research.

ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr said that in the first quarter netbooks paced the mobile-device market with 8.4 million shipments, compared with just 6.4 million media tablets. With 68 percent of tablet computer shipments, the iPad 2 and its predecessor continued to sell well.

Indeed, Apple just reported that it sold 11.12 million iPads for its just closed quarter alone, a 166 percent unit increase over Q3 2010.

"This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse," Orr said. "As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type."

Orr said people are choosing media tablets because the touch interface is easier to use than the mouse and keyboard of more traditional computers. For example, people of the baby boomer generation and older look at media tablets as an easy way to get online and surf the Web.

Overall, Orr expects computer makers will sell only slightly more than half (32 million) of the total number of media tablets (60 million) worldwide by the end of 2011.

The majority of netbook sales will be driven by countries where PC penetration and broadband services are not widely available, while the U.S., Western Europe, Japan and South Korea will continue to drive media tablet shipments.

As successful as the iPad has been in the tablet market, slates based on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system haven't exactly struck the same note with consumers.

Blame it on buggy early Honeycomb machines or the lack of strong marketing by Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI), Samsung or HTC, but shoppers who aren't die-hard Google aficionados seem disinterested in Android tablets.

The same can't be said for Android smartphones. While the Motorola Droid line continues to gain momentum and Samsung has enjoyed Galaxy S I and II sales of 30 million alone, ABI's Orr said Android smartphones would account for 52 percent of total market share in Asian markets through this year, up from just 16 percent in 2010.

This is partially due to the rise of low-cost phones-some as low as $20-from vendors such as Huawei, ZTE, Micromax, Karbonn and G'Five.

However, even high-end handset makers HTC and Samsung will continue to enjoy their success in Asia. Orr expects combined market share of Samsung and HTC to grow from 11 percent in Asia last year to 24 percent this year.

"The smartphone market in Asia is likely to see turbulence soon as these mobile phone makers up the ante to increase their smartphone market share," Orr said.