Consumers are picking tablets because of their longer battery life and short boot up time when compared to netbooks, IDC's Chiang said.
But netbooks will still sell as long as prices are kept down. "I think the most important thing for netbook products this year is the price, not the technology, not the design," she added.
In spite of the huge increase in tablet sales, there is still a sizeable market for netbooks, said Gartner analyst Tracy Tsai. The low costs of netbooks makes them appealing to consumers in emerging markets, where people have tighter budgets and want to own a PC, she added.
Micro-Star International sees this opportunity as well, in spite of the diminishing popularity of netbooks. The company will continue to release new netbook devices because there is still a demand for them in emerging markets like East Asia, said Sambora Chern, a senior director with MSI.
"I think the netbook's biggest advantage is that it has a keyboard," he said. "With a tablet, it's a virtual keyboard. It's not real."
Analysts like Tsai believe that more vendors will develop netbooks that can convert into a slate tablet. On Wednesday, Intel unveiled a netbook called Keeley Lake that uses its new Atom processor called Cedar Trail. The netbook is special in that the touch screen display can rotate and fold back on to the keyboard, becoming a tablet.
"In the future it will be harder to say if this is a netbook or a tablet," Tsai said. "I think in the future you will have all kinds of possibilities for all kinds of users. Users will have multiple choices and you can pick whatever you like."
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