Tablet Computer Adoption: Fast and Furious

Tablets are growing faster than smartphone adoptionThe tablet computer hasn’t been around long at all.  But it’s making a huge splash in the digital arena … and giving not only laptops but also smartphones a run for their money in the bargain.

Consider these data points as reported on recently by Mark Donovan, a senior vice president at comScore, a leading Internet cyber-analytics firm:

  • Tablet adoption is happening significantly faster than what was experienced with smartphones.
  • The majority of iPad users don’t own an iPhone or some other type of smartphone.
  • Tablet “early adopters” are equally male and female – a departure from the norm which typically finds early adopters of new digital technology being primarily young men.
  • There is very high usage of tablets for shopping, watching video, and other media consumption. That’s also a departure from what was experienced with smartphones, where it took much longer for consumers to become comfortable shopping from their smartphone devices.
  • People use tablets and smartphones differently – and at different times. For example, smartphone usage peaks during the day whereas tablets are used more in the evening.

That tablets are making big gains on laptop computers is no surprise at all, considering their lighter weight, nearly effortless portability, brighter screens, and the ease of using them in environments not conducive to a keyboard-and-mouse (like in bed).

But of the trends noted above, I think the most intriguing one pertains to tablet computer usage versus smartphones – specifically, how tablets are becoming an alternative to smartphones rather than an adjunct.

Indeed, it seems as if some people aren’t making the transition from feature phones to smartphones that everyone expected; they’re opting for tablets instead. We may see the adoption rates for smartphonesbegin to flatten out as a result.

Indeed, Adobe Systems reported in May 2012 that tablet traffic is growing at a rate ten times faster than smartphone traffic.

But if you really think about it, maybe these latest developments aren’t so surprising: Many folks have long complained about the “miniaturization” of display screens that are a necessary evil of mobile phones. Now that the tablet has come along, there’s finally an effective solution to that dilemma – and the market has responded accordingly, blowing away even the most optimistic sales forecasts for tablets.

2 Responses

  1. The main thing in tablet adoption is this: You can watch videos on the comfortable big screen compared to what you do on a smartphone. The another thing is you can carry it everywhere in your pocket (but not a laptop or an ultrabook).

  2. Sorry to hiss on this parade …

    There is a not-at-all hidden drawback to the market development of tablets as there is about “this-pads” and “them-pads,” as there actually has been for more than a decade about texting and sms’ing.

    More than a dozen years ago, I observed two teenage friends – almost looked like twins – walk beside each other along the sidewalk, both crossing the intersection, neither of them raising their focus away from the cellphones they were texting on at the time (remember those?), neither one of them aware of the truck approaching the intersection way too fast …

    Fast forward to a few months back, and a middle-aged couple visiting us up on our mountain home. They said their hellos and had their welcome drinks (tea, most likely); then he walked back to his car and came back with his tablet, sat down and started ‘tableting’ while the rest of us conversed. Soon we all moved to the living room, whereupon the man sat down at one end of the long sofa – with his tablet – and the lady visitor unveiled her own tablet from her large handbag and perched at the other end. As we tried to carry on a meaningful conversation, neither of them took their eyes off their tablet screens for more than a second or two.

    Fast sideways into town and the coffee shop where people ‘meet’ to sit opposite each other at tables with their notebooks, netbooks, iPads, tablets … and Skype to each other.

    How will people “communicate” with each other when somone turns the power off?

    And finally, fast back-up up here: Two young people visiting (both high school graduates and not at all stupid) who are incapable of enunciating a complete sentence.

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