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Which Will Find Success: MIDs, Media Tablets or Smartbooks?

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Here’s a topic we’ve been kicking around since the first netbooks arrived — which device classes have a chance for success and which don’t? That’s actually a difficult question to answer because it’s going to vary based on your definition of success. And just because a device doesn’t see millions of sales doesn’t mean it won’t meet your individual needs.

Laptop Magazine’s Mark Spoonauer pinged me to share a handy chart that summarizes MIDs, media tablets, and smartbooks. Aside from the definition and characteristics of each, Mark also lists pros, cons and the chance of success. It’s a useful grouping of data, although I’d probably amend the pricing of media tablets. Mark lists them between $300 and $600, and includes Apple’s iPad (s aapl) in the category. With 3G and 64 GB of storage, you’ll pay $829 for a loaded iPad. And ironically, even though Mark’s definition wouldn’t consider the iPad to be a smartbook, I think that Apple cornered the smartbook market before it even took off. Even with a keyboard, smartbooks are sure to be compared to the iPad by consumers.

I’d consider adding another factor to the mix as well — how “mobile” is the device class. In my mind, a MID (or high-end smartphone) is more mobile than an iPad or a netbook-sized smartbook. This can make a difference because consumers could opt for a smaller device over a large one when leaving home.

Otherwise, I like what Mark put together as a reference. And I’m general agreement with his “chance of success” rates too. MIDs — and UMPCs with full desktop systems — are still fairly niche products and I’d expect the low rate of success they were given. How about you? Do you think Mark is a good odds maker for mobile device success rates?

Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

The State of the Smartbook

9 Responses to “Which Will Find Success: MIDs, Media Tablets or Smartbooks?”

  1. Also das ist wirklich nicht sehr schlau von Lenovo – in voller Kenntnis gegen die Markenrechte verstossen … das ist nicht ignorant, das ist vorsätzlich. Ab jetzt dürfen wir Lenovo LexNovo nennen, die machen ihre neuen Gesetze selbst ? Auf verschiedenen Foren werden die kleineren Smartbook AG Protagonisten als Glücksritter bezeichnet und sonstwie diffamiert. Das geht so einfach nicht – Kleinheit ist keine Zeichen von Rechtlosigkeit … David, Goliath und was einem dazu so einfällt. Als Bill Gates aus seiner Garange DOS (um die Herkunft ranken sich immer noch Gerüchte) verkaufte, war seine Firma auch noch recht zierlich. Und der Marken-/Firmenname Microsoft erscheint selbst aus heutiger Sichet mindestens ebenso wie Smartbook. “KleinWeich” oder “SchlauBuch” .. wo ist der Unterschied ? Beides ist wenig generisch und hat Markenqualität. Volkswagen und Allianz – nur Grösse zählt und alles andere ist rechtlos ? Die bewusste oder zumindest akzeptierte sowie ultra-arrogante Zerstörung der Marke der Smartbook AG ist beispiellos. Mal ganz ehrlich – wenn man sich das Design des LeXnovo Produktes ansieht – möchte man damit in einem Topf verrührt werden ? Es gibt Namen ohne Ende – wenn man sich anstrengt – warum tut Lenovo das nicht ? Sony, Nokia, Lexus … die haben das alle irgendwie geschafft. Und das die vielleicht Deutschland aus ihrer Bewerbung herausnehmen – na ja, SmartBook ist wohl in einigen Ländern geschützt … und der Schaden bereits angerichtet.

  2. Jeff Jackson

    None of the above. My requirements for a tablet device is one that allows me to run Logos 4, OneNote, Word, FrameMaker, and Photoshop. Either a 10″ screen with a 5:4 aspect ration or a 12″ screen with 16:9.

  3. When you call a MID a next gen Smartphone (a.k.a Dell mini 5) you get the answer that you seek.
    People will have tens of categories and form factors – but those that go into my pocket are those which I “HAVE” to carry with me.
    I want the possibility to have a video conf call with my kids anytime (web cam, 3g or wifi with mifi), i need to know how to get to places (gps), have phone calls, and use as media player.

  4. I’d argue that mobility is more than just whether the device is pocketable – it’s also a function of whether the device can be used while you’re on the move. Laptop-style form factors, including netbooks and smartbooks, are portable but not really mobile in this sense (although the smaller clamshell UMPCs move into the “mobile” class). Tablets may be less mobile than pocketable MIDs like the Archos 5, but they’re more mobile than a 3G-equipped clamshell device.

  5. None of them will win. Hardware is a commodity and until flexible hardware comes along, people will simply use the deves that allowsm to take their content with them and mnipulate it in the easiest manner.

    The better question is which MID will disappear easiest inside teh in-coming services economy? The mobile and MIDs that do that will be what’s defined as successful hardware. To that end, the iPod/iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad/itunes ecosystem has signifiant inroads, with Google/Android and Nokia/Ovi following up fast. MS could grab momentum quick as well. Cheers.

  6. This is a very good point. In my opinion is that the MID’s will be around longer, might not have large volume sales but will continue to sell. If you have a MID in the 4 to 5 inch it is easy to carry with you. View web, some e-reading, GPS for on the road, checking email, etc… this is where a 4.3″ smartphone can replace the MID. The Media Tablets I say those will be good for those that would like to browse, read books, magazines, etc… and have that at the house in the coffee table so you can just pick it up and check news, and read some e-books. The smartbook computer in my opinion will be around for a short time. Reason is that if have a MID or a Media Tablet, then you can just buy a Netbook or a Notebook. Of course this would depend on how you need to get work done, but for me a smartbook with keyboard wouldn’t because I already have a MID that I can do most of my work when it doesn’t require to use MS Office. Example I am using my A5A right now out on the job with a BT Keyboard and works great for times like this. Then just put in in my pocket. I do carry my netbook because still need it but I don’t have to use it for times like this. Also the Tablets running Tegra that JkOnTheRun covered at the CES will be good as well as the iPad. If they can get inking to sync from these devices to say, MS Office this would be a great thing because then you could use it for notes and then have it sync over and maybe import into OneNote. ;)

  7. Who says any of these devices will see success? These are unproven. The issue is, there are already devices which do things that these devices do. From a need perspective, it’s a real stretch. The manufacturers have built up the hype, but that doesn’t mean you have to get sucked into it also.

  8. I believe the success rate of a device category is dependent on the defininition of the category. There’s a market for all three device categories, I’m sure. As usual volume is price dependent. I’m sure a 5 inch, really powerful MID with outstanding phone functionality (voice dial etc currently missing in just about all WinMo 6.5.. devices, the Nokia N900 and all Android phones afaik), and just about no bezel to make it pocketable, and the right price would find a large market. Just look at the success of the HD2, despite it being crippled. Maemo6 may get there if Nokia lives up to its promises.