Offering a more appealing balance of form and function, Deloitte predicts that net tablets will be purchased by tens of millions of people in the year ahead.
Net tablets are expected to thrive in 2010 despite only modest success for tablet computers over the last decade, due principally to the integration of wireless connectivity into these devices. Connectivity transforms the uses that tablets can be put to. Additionally, improvements in touch screen technology, power management and storage all combine to make the netTab a compelling device.
Jim Sloane, lead technology partner at Deloitte, comments: "Leading netTab vendors are likely to be those that focus marketing on what the device enables for consumers, rather than on technical specifications.
"Applications, ranging from games to social networks, are likely to be popular. The vendor with the best applications store for tablets should end up in a leading position.
“The rise of the net tablet could impact other segments, such as growth of the nascent e-reader market. For every million net tablets sold there could be a corresponding impact on e-readers.
"netTabs are likely to fill a gap between smartphones — which are often too small for watching videos or web browsing — and notebooks and ultra-thin PCs, which are too heavy or expensive. However netTabs are unlikely to cannibalise sales of smart phones or lap tops - rather these devices will contribute to the growing ubiquity of computing in the home, heralding an era in which connected, browser based devices become as ubiquitous in the living room as scatter cushions.”
Since net tablets are designed to connect wirelessly over WiFi, wireless carriers are likely to try to push users off cellular networks and onto WiFi as much as possible. Net tablets are also likely to be more expensive to build than most smartphones, and consumers' expectations of significant upfront subsidies may initially hold up the market.