Every 10 tablets sold zap 5 net/notebook sales

A CIO friend told me yesterday that his company is considering ditching notebooks and equipping its sales force with iPads. And I have yet to hear from a CIO or IT exec who thinks tablets don’t have a key role to play in the corporate America (my day job is community manager at IDG’sEnterprise CIO Forum).

So could tablets replace notebook PCs and netbooks or put at least crimp their sales? The latter seems like a sure thing now. Tablets and not just the iPad is causing a major incursion in sales of notebooks and netbooks, the new legacy machines.

Some were asking the question three months before the iPad started shipping last April, but the chances seemed more remote then. The wild success expected for iPad was even wilder than anyone imagined.

And now CIOs are preaching freedom of choice (this video sums up what forward-looking CIOs are telling me) when it comes to end users picking their own PC, tablet or smart phone. Given the choice, a Gen Yer in the workforce most of the time will pick an iPad 2 over a notebook, I suspect.

iPad sales are forecast to come in at 40 million this year and Apple said last month, the iPad has caused “the mother of all backlogs.” Analyst firm Canalys forecasts sales of 52 million of all brands of “pads” as it calls them. Every 10 “pads” steals away sales of five notebooks or netbooks, according to an article in Mac Observer citing Canalys.

What could propel tablets is a popular second or challenger to the iPad. The Motorola Zoom and RIM Playbook are distant challengers to the iPad, but challengers, nonetheless. There’s dozens of others, too.

Why the attraction to tablets? Look no further than our smart phones. We love touch screens, resplendent video and the slim uncomplicated and lightweight profile of the tablet more than built-in keyboards, the notebook’s distinguishing feature.

And there’s love for Apple ios and Android….not so much for Windows 7.

Nielsen just released a study where tablets were found to the most popular computer for those “watching TV” versus an eReader and Smart Phone, which dominated for those lying in bed. However, notebooks and netbooks were not included in the study.

The tablet was a big loser up until 14 months ago when Apple brilliantly and/or serendipitously pumped up the iPhone and came out with the iPad. I remember Microsoft showing off a tablet computer at a Comdex trade show and that was a decade ago!

Guess there’s still hope for single sign-in.

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