The days when netbooks were red hot are gone, thanks to the rise of tablets. According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, shipments of netbooks are set to wind down to virtually zero afte next year.
Netbooks used to be an attractive alternative to traditional notebook PC, as consumers gravitated toward smaller, lower cost portable PCs with fewer features and capabilities.
But IHS's latest report projects that shipments of netbooks this year are set to fall to just 3.97million units this year, a 72 percent drop from 14.13 million last year. The netbook market peaked at 32.14 million shipments in 2010, according to IHS.
In 2014, IHS predicts that netbook shipments will be limited to just 264,000 units. By 2015, shipments are projected to fall to zero.
"Netbooks shot to popularity immediately after launch because they were optimized for low cost, delivering what many consumers believed as acceptable computer performance,? said Craig Stice, senior principal analyst for compute platforms at IHS, in a statement.
According to Stice, netbooks were originally intended for light productivity tasks such as web browsing and email. But they eventually became more powerful, taking advantage of mature PC technology that enabled cost-effective implementation of more functionality. But their popularity began to descend after Apple's 2010 introduction of the the iPad, Stice said. Netbook shipments declined by 34 percent in 2011, IHS said.
"The iPad and other tablets came in a new form factor that excited consumers while also offering improved computing capabilities, leading to a massive loss of interest in netbooks,? Stice said.
Shipments of mobile PCs have also been declining since tablets showed up. Although these devices still retain the largest share of the overall PC market, they will continue to be sideswiped by the ongoing popularity of tablets. In addition, Ultrabooks and similar ultrathin PCs have yet to take off to the extent hoped for by manufacturers, according to the firm.