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Netbooks beat iPhone! Um, So what?

Posted December 11, 2008 7:59 AM by Chris Seibold
Categories: Netbook 

imageWorried that suddenly popular Netbooks might relegate the iPhone to obscurity? Well you should be! See netbook sales have overtaken sales of the iPhone. For proof check out this post on NetbookBoards. There you have it, according analysts guesses last quarter saw 4.7 million iPhones out the door compared to 5.6 million netbooks. Sorry iPhoners, it is over!

Wait, let’s think about this for just a second. They’ll use any sale of a netbook but only count iPhones. That seems exclusionary. Shouldn’t sales of the iPod touch be included as well? Hold that thought, if we are going to be really fair the better comparison would be netbooks compared to number of smartphones sold. Comparing netbooks to just the iPhone and calling netbooks the winner is like noting that there were more motorcycles sold by all manufacturers sold than Toyota Camrys and concluding that Camrys were on the way out.

So how many smartphones were sold in q3 2008 (the quarter in question)? 36.5 million. That’s right, in a fair comparison smartphones are destroying netbooks, they are six and a half times more popular. None of this means that someday netbooks won’t take over smartphones but it isn’t this quarter and it won’t happen until you can get internet everywhere on your netbook. Oh, and that hope that Apple will make a netbook? The company already does. Apple calls it the MacBook air and in true Apple fashion charges more for the machine than an entry level (read: more capable) laptop.

Oh, if you want some solid reasoning behind the problems inherent in netbooks check out this screed by Chris Howard at out sister site Apple Matters.


  1. It must be rather awkward holding a netbook to one’s ear in order to make a telephone call.  I’m not surprised that netbooks are selling due to their low price.  Starting at $350 it’s not a bad entry point to have a nearly full-fledged computer with a physical keyboard and display.  Netbooks certainly have a niche for those that want to use a smallish portable computing device for the least amount of money possible. However, a netbook is not a handset and therefore it doesn’t make much sense to compare them directly.  At least the iPhone’s profit margins are higher.  As long as netbooks aren’t cutting into iPhone sales, all’s fine and dandy.

    Posted by Constable Odo on December 11, 2008 10:33 AM
  2. Netbooks could overtake smartphones? Codswallop. The devices we use to do work and access the net - and the categories we place them in - are themselves morphing: laptops are shrinking, mobile phones are getting cleverer. But the total market for hand-sized phones is and will always be many, many times bigger than that for larger computers. The iPhone UI has proven that smartphones have remained ghettoised not because people don’t want lots of features, but because they have been impossible to use. Predictions: netbooks will never outsell smartphones; smartphones will grow to dominate the mobile phone market; and the iPhone and iPhone nano will become the biggest selling smartphone models.

    Posted by Brian McTavish on December 11, 2008 11:51 AM
  3. you mother**** Mactard, the Air is 13” you cretin, not a netbook.

    (edited for language-admin)

    Posted by your hooker mom on December 11, 2008 12:41 PM
  4. whoa, whoa, whoa!  You’re telling me that just one smartphone from Apple sells almost as many units a quarter as the whole, entire, total netbook market?!!

    That must be one hell of a good smartphone Apple makes!

    Posted by Chris Howard on December 11, 2008 2:32 PM
  5. The beautiful thing about the iPhone for Apple is that it accounts for iPhone sales over 8 quarters making for quite an impressive growing revenue stream. Add to that Apple gets money from iTunes and App Store sales and you’ve got quite the well focus content delivery money making machine at all fronts. Not the scattered investment disappearing options of the other vendors.

    Take for example RIM- no App Store; no iTunes. Get this, if you made an app for the Storm it wouldn’t work on behemoth called the Bold. The user experience is different on both devices and therefore not a good investment for anyone who appreciates these devices as a platform for content delivery.

    Posted by lrd on December 11, 2008 4:43 PM
  6. there’s a big difference between netbooks and iPhones, so I think there is no reason to compare their sales or the product itself.. who the hell cares.. like I care.

    Posted by princess on December 12, 2008 12:07 AM

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