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PC sales boosted by iPad, but netbooks decline

Cliff Saran

The PC market grew 7% in Q1 2011, according to research from Canalys, due to the popularity of Apple's iPad.

Apple set the standard in the pad market, mainly at the expense of notebook and netbook shipments, as pads competed for a share of consumer IT spend, according to Canalys.

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During the first quarter of this year, tablet device shipments reached 6.4 million units worldwide. Apple accounted for 74% of these shipments. Canalys expects that next quarter will see a significant change in the market, with products appearing from Acer, Asus, LG and RIM.

While iPad sales continued to lift Apple's results, PC makers with a focus on the consumer netbook and notebook market, such as Acer and Asus, did not fare so well, Canalys notes.

"Taking into consideration the iPad's 'halo effect' on the company's other products, Apple has grown considerably in most markets worldwide," said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. "As the iPad 2 and its competitors continue to roll out, we expect pad sales to propel PC market growth for the rest of the year."

This reflects findings from a recent YouGov study, which showed that 8% of indivuduals purchased a tablet device instead of, or to replace, a PC.

Research from Canalys shows that tablet users use their devices more like PCs than as eReaders. After web browsing, both tablet device owners and non-owners in Western Europe, linked usage to e-mail/messaging and social networking.

Among tablet device owners, all three categories rated much higher than e-book reading and video watching. Non-owners, however, expected e-mail/messaging, e-book reading, and video watching to top pad usage after web browsing, Canalys reports.

Coulling, said, "The pad represents a real threat to PC and consumer electronics suppliers, as it is capable of replacing devices in a range of other categories." 


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