Tablets to Outsell Laptops This Black Friday, Experts Believe

The complete shift in balance will happen sooner than some think

To anyone who’s thinking 2013 is too soon for tablets to overtake laptops in terms of sales, DisplaySearch is ready to say that the estimated time frame is, in fact, not soon enough.

True, 2013 will be the first year when slates will sell better than notebooks, assuming nothing too outlandish happens to turn the IT industry on its head again.

On a smaller scale, however, the time when slates eclipse laptops will come sooner, much sooner. This very week in fact.

Few can claim to have failed to notice the discounts happening all over the place. While Black Friday is when the real sales stampede happens, online stores like Best Buy have already revealed their promotions.

NPD DisplaySearch is the market analysis firm that believes Black Friday will enable better tablet than normal laptop sales.

“North America is expected to be the setting for the developing tablet market to overtake the established notebook market, and this Black Friday and the shopping season to follow will be the fuel to stoke the demand,” said Mr. Richard Shim, a senior analyst.

There are several factors that, on their own, would not have led to this situation, but which, together, are just enough to manage it.

The price cuts to older models is one thing. Some previous-generation tablets ship for $199 / 199, and Black Friday deals will bring even newer ones close to that mark.

A second reason is the high performance of tablets. Though some still sell for a lot, many of them have the same prices as netbooks used to, without the disadvantages. Netbooks barely did anything aside from web browsing and document editing, whereas tablets easily play high-quality video and work wirelessly, for many hours at a time.

The third factor is how Android 4.2/4.1 Jelly Bean, Windows 8 and Windows RT (Windows 8 on ARM) all came out within a relatively narrow time frame. These operating systems provide many benefits and, with docks available for pretty much every tablet, there is barely any disadvantage left compared to laptops, save for the smaller screen sizes.

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