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After cannibalizing netbook sales for well over a year, media tablets are said to have finally leapfrogged their prey in terms of shipments. According to ABI Research, tablet shipments in 2Q11 numbered 13.6 million units compared to just 7.3 million netbooks.
This is a massive shift from the first quarter of 2011, during which netbook shipments still led tablet shipments 8.4 million to 6.4 million. ABI Research feels that this trend is irreversible. "This is a trend that we do not expect will reverse," said Jeff Orr, group director of mobile devices at ABI Research. "As they are different segments, this is not a direct replacement behavior, but a changing of leadership for the most interesting device type."
Tablets have managed to achieve this feat despite the fact that the average media tablet costs $600 and the average netbook only half that amount. But all is not lost for netbooks. Their low average price means that there is still plenty of hope for netbooks in “underserved countries” with low PC penetration and poor broadband services.