An October survey by market research firm ChangeWave spells doom for manufacturers of netbooks. While just a few holiday seasons ago the cheap little PCs were on everyone's Christmas list, now they're only attractive to 14% of people who are considering the purchase of a laptop computer. At their peak, almost a quarter of laptop customers wanted inexpensive netbooks.
Why the big change in such a short amount of time? The iPad, which is attracting the attention of buyers who want a small, portable device for web browsing and email. It doesn't appear that the upcoming flood of iPad competitors is having much of an effect, either. ChangeWave's data (based on a sample size of 3,108 consumers) shows that a whopping 80% of potential tablet buyers are considering the iPad, a figure 10 times that of the next closest competitor -- the still-unreleased RIM Playbook. A tiny 3% of tablet buyers are opting for the Android-based (and also unreleased) Samsung Galaxy Tab (see next page for graphic).