Tablets outpace netbooks in mobile race

Media tablet shipments surpassed netbooks this quarter, hitting 13.6 million units – compared to just 7.3 million netbooks.

Netbooks had previously led the way with 8.4 million shipments in 1Q11, compared to 6.4 million media tablets.

As expected, Apple’s iPad comprised approximately 68% of the tablet total.

“This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse,” ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr told TG Daily in an e-mailed statement.

“As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type.”

According to Orr, consumers are choosing tablets over netbooks for a number of reasons.

“Media tablets are perceived to be easy to use, compared to the keyboard and mouse interface of a netbook computer,” he said. 

“Those who have avoided PCs because they are difficult to use – think the Baby Boomer generation and older – see media tablets as an opportunity to re-engage with Internet access.”

However, the analyst emphasized that cost was “certainly not” a factor driving tablet interest, as the average media tablet costs approximately $600 and the average netbook is only about half of that.