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 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

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