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Posts Tagged ‘tablet computers’

Android tablets poised to overtake Apple’s market lead

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Android logoApple has been able to maintain its tablet lead by delivering a quality experience at a premium price, but Android devices are poised to overtake the firms lead.

The iPad maker exited the first calendar quarter of 2013 with 50 percent share of all tablet shipments, though, according to market intelligence firm ABI Research, the Android ecosystem is poised to overtake iOS.

The big variable for Android is China. The Middle Kingdom is passionate about the Apple brand as well as the masses’ ability to afford technology devices.

Smaller, 7-inch Android tablets have become popular though most lack the Google suite of apps and Android Play marketplace. A push for sub-$200 tablets is keeping Android relevant in both developed and emerging markets.

“It’s inevitable that Android tablets will overtake iOS-powered slates, though we see no single vendor challenging Apple’s dominance anytime soon,” says senior practice director Jeff Orr. “With media tablets commercially available for more than 4 years, momentum is shifting toward value and affordability, putting tablets in more of the population’s reach.”

IPad Mini becoming dominant

Average selling price (ASP) and size have been moving down-market since Android tablets started honing in on the opportunity in 2012. Rather than try to unseat Apple in the 10”-class space, tablet vendors sought a defensible area they could own; the result is the 7”-class devices.

Steve Jobs was wrong in asserting that tablet computers had to have screens at least 10 inches in size. Consumers are clearly expressing a preference for small tablets. Anyone who has hefted a 10-inch tablet knows why. The small tablets are much easier on the hands and lose little in terms of the experience.

Apple iPad3s

Apple iPads

Facing manufacturing limits in its first quarter of offer, the 7.9-inch iPad mini put a dent in the larger iPad sales and Apple profits. The first quarter of 2013 saw Apple cover its backlog and approach the typical 4-6 weeks of sales channel inventory while recording its second-best ever quarter for total iPad shipments.

ABI Research estimates that iPad mini represented 49% of units and 39% of total iPad revenues. “Expect iPad minis to become the predominant iPad model after the June quarter,” adds Orr.

These “Media Tablet Market Share” findings are part of ABI Research’s Media Tablets, Ultrabooks & eReaders Research Service(http://www.abiresearch.com/research/service/media-tablets-netbooks-ereaders/).

Tablets to overtake laptop shipments this year, PCs by 2015

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

tablet computersAccording to a new forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDCWorldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker, tablet shipments are expected to grow 58.7% year-over-year in 2013 reaching 229.3 million units, up from 144.5 million units last year. IDC now predicts tablet shipments will exceed those of portable PCs this year, as the slumping PC market is expected to see negative growth for the second consecutive year.

In addition, IDC expects tablet shipments to outpace the entire PC market (portables and desktops combined) by 2015. (A press release summarizing IDC’s latest PC market forecast can be found here.)

“What started as a sign of tough economic times has quickly shifted to a change in the global computing paradigm with mobile being the primary benefactor,” said Ryan Reith, Program Manager for IDC’s Mobility Trackers. “Tablets surpassing portables in 2013, and total PCs in 2015, marks a significant change in consumer attitudes about compute devices and the applications and ecosystems that power them.

 

IDC continues to believe that PCs will have an important role in this new era of computing, especially among business users. But for many consumers, a tablet is a simple and elegant solution for core use cases that were previously addressed by the PC.”

These findings have implications for marketers as well as device makers.

Low cost Android devices fueling expansion

Personally, here at the TechJournal, while we like tablets and find them useful, we think it will be quite a while before they replace either desktop PCs or laptops. They just are not yet really suited as tools for many jobs – particularly those which require significant amounts of writing.

Once voice operation and dictation is perfected, however, we suspect that smaller devices may indeed replace many more uses of PCs and laptops.

While Apple has been at the forefront of the tablet revolution, the current market expansion has been increasingly fueled by low-cost Android devices. In 2013, the worldwide average selling price (ASP) for tablets is expected to decline -10.8% to $381. In comparison, the ASP of a PC in 2013 is nearly double that at $635.

Over at Walmart, we’ve seen numerous Android devices selling for under $100, some as low as $59. While reviews for these 7-inch tablets are not sterling, neither are the prices.

 

IDC expects tablet prices to decline further, which will allow vendors to deliver a viable computing experience into the hands of many more people at price points the PC industry has strived to meet for years.

Here at the TechJournal, we expect the price on Google’s initial Nexus 7 models will drop when it introduces new models, which some say are due to launch in July. The same thing generally happens with Apple’s iPads.

Apple iPad3s

Apple iPads

“Apple’s success in the education market has proven that tablets can be used as more than just a content consumption or gaming device,” said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. “These devices are learning companions, and as tablet prices continue to drop, the dream of having a PC for every child gets replaced with the reality that we can actually provide a tablet for every child.”

In addition to lower prices, another major shift in the tablet market has occurred around screen sizes. Apple’s first generation iPad, which included a 9.7-inch display, was perceived by many as the sweet spot for tablets.

That is, until 7-inch Android-based tablets began to gain traction in the market. Apple responded with the iPad mini in the fourth quarter of 2012, and in the space of two quarters the sub-8-inch category exploded to overtake the larger-sized segment in terms of total shipments.

Worldwide Tablet Market Share by Screen Size Band, 2011 – 2017
Screen Size 2011 2013 2017
< 8″ 27% 55% 57%
8″ – 11″ 73% 43% 37%
11″+ 0% 2% 6%
Total 100% 100% 100%

Source: IDC Worldwide Tablet Tracker, May 28, 2013.

Nearly half of sales pros hindered by lack of mobile access

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

tablets (1)Almost half of salespeople say that limited mobile access to key sales systems is a problem, according to a survey of 500 US organizations by MicroStrategy on the use of tablet computers to support sales.

Results of the survey reveal that:

  • Nearly one in two salespeople cite limited mobile access to key sales systems— i.e. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Content Management, Order Management—as a challenge.
  • C-level executives point to their respective salesforces’ lack of understanding of customer needs as a major barrier to selling (75%), along with failure to keep product knowledge current (50%).
  • The top five desired activities to perform on a mobile device include: create or update opportunities, view sales collateral, view CRM records, view sales analytics, and collaborate and share ideas with other sales team members.
  • Most sales organizations (72%) grade themselves at a B-level or below on sales meeting quality. To see additional survey result detail, visit: http://www.microstrategy.com/download/files/mobile/MSESurveyResults.pdf.

The company created this infographic detailing its findings:

Business users most satisfied with tablets, but more functions needed

Thursday, October 11th, 2012
Kindle Fire

A Kindle Fire tablet computer

Have you bought an iPad, Kindle Fire, Galaxy tab or other tablet computer? Does it measure up to what you wanted? Are you using it regularly?

New data by Maritz Research says that among five tablet usage segments, business-productive tablet users tend to be more satisfied, while entertainment-centric users are the least satisfied.

Both of these groups represent significant opportunity for this fall with the plethora of new tablets coming on the market. The study also confirms that impulse purchasers are less satisfied than those making a planned tablet purchase.

The business-productive and entertainment-centric segments highlight the ways tablet manufacturers can impact the tablet market. The business-productive users are using their tablets for the broadest range of activities including both personal and business applications.

Even though they are happier than the entertainment-centric users, the study reveals they are still thirsty for additional functionality to perform business tasks.

Business activities such as Microsoft Office and other content creation applications are a real desire for these consumers.

As we’ve said here often at the TechJournal, we think good, accurate voice-control/dictation software could really change the landscape in making tablets useful for business purposes.

Entertainment-centric users get low use from their devices because they use them for only a narrow set of applications. Improving the entertainment experience will encourage users in this segment to expand usage and eventually use the device for more activities.

Business-productive Users More Satisfied Than Entertainment-centric Users
When comparing all activities done on the top tablets (Apple iPad, Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy Tab as the top three), entertainment-centric (21 percent) tablet users outnumber business-productive (18 percent) tablet users, yet business-productive users are happier with their tablet purchases.

“Initially, entertainment-related activities were a primary reason to purchase a tablet, but our study reveals consumers want to use their devices for a broad range of activities,” said Michael Allenson, senior strategic consulting director of the Technology/Telecom Research Group at Maritz Research.

“Many consumers would like tablets to become more of a primary business computing tool. The new generation of tablets with improved mobility, keyboards and power for intensive applications will likely address this demand and be a catalyst for even higher utility.”

We enjoy our Kindle Fire, but we’re waiting for the next generation of tablets before buying another.

The other three top tablet activity segments were identified as staying informed/in-touch (27 percent), reading (22 percent), and productive personal use (12 percent).

  • Staying informed/in-touch – use tablets for sending and receiving email, general information searches, checking the news and staying up on current events, shopping for goods and services (including comparing products) and visiting social networks and community sites.
  • Reading – use tablets for reading ebooks and stories, magazines or other periodicals.
  • Productive personal – use tablets for sending/receiving instant messages, photos, managing personal finances, tweeting and directions/navigation.

Impulse Buyers Less Satisfied With Their Purchases
Overall satisfaction with tablets is high, particularly with owners of the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle Fire, compared to the Samsung Galaxy Tab and all other tablet brands combined.

However, the study shows those who made planned tablet purchases are more satisfied than those who made impulse purchases, even among iPad owners.

  • Strong growth in the market is further enhanced by a large contingent of impulse buyerswho unexpectedly decided to make a purchase. Seventy-six percent of these buyers had not expected to purchase a tablet for at least a year.
  • New products such as the Kindle Fire and iPad 3 helped drive new entrants. Impulse buyers spent less money on their tablets, with 4 in 10 purchasing a tablet less than $250.
  • Impulse buyers download fewer apps and use their tablet for fewer activities, and hence are less satisfied. They need more engagement to get value out of their device.
  • Satisfaction numbers will continue to evolve as consumers become more familiar with their devices and as applications continue to expand, increasing the tablet’s appeal.
  • Inexperienced buyers need more support at the point of sale to familiarize them with tablet capabilities and to ramp up usage.

One-third of tablet users say shopping is a favorite activity on the device

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

tabletsLaptops are out, tablets are in. Look around a coffee shop or into the homes of Americans, and you’re likely to find a tablet. In fact, a new CouponCabin.com survey reveals that one-in-five (20 percent) U.S. adults own and use a tablet computer such as an iPad, Kindle Fire or Xoom.

Adults ages 35-44 reported the highest instance of tablet ownership, at 29 percent. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from June 20th – 22nd, 2012, among 2,214 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Regardless of the age of tablet users, they’re spending a lot of time on their devices.

When asked how much time they spend on their tablets on a typical day, tablet owners said the following:
•       Less than one hour – 53 percent
•       One hour to less than two hours – 47 percent
•       2 hours or more – 16 percent

One of the more popular activities on tablet computers is shopping. Nearly one-third of tablet owners (32 percent) report their favorite activity on their device is online shopping, while 35 percent of tablet owners have redeemed a coupon using their tablet. In addition, nearly six-in-ten (57 percent) tablet owners shop on their device while watching TV.

To help shoppers who use tablets save money quickly and easily, CouponCabin.com has launched a free all-in-one coupon app for iPad that allows users to access coupons in every coupon category, including grocery, printable for in-store use, and online codes for hundreds of online retailers.

Coming soon to an airline you fly: tablets for in-flight entertainment

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

tabletsIn-Flight Entertainment (IFE) is a major part of an airline’s marketing program and affects pricing of the seats along with the overall experience.

It is the most cumbersome of the services provided by airlines during flight and needs regular and constant upgrade and maintenance.

Now, says Frost & Sullivan consultant Ravi Madavaram, AirAsia is the first airline to introduce tablets for in-flight entertainment – and he expects others to do the same, opening new marketing and revenue opportunities.

“This will trigger more low cost airlines as well as full service carriers to adopt tablets as IFE. The airline industry spends about US$1.2 billion a year for IFE maintenance. With the advent of tablets into this space, the dynamics of this segment will alter significantly in the next few years,” said Ravi.

Value-chain will see a major change

He continued, “Panasonic is the current market leader in this segment and Samsung has been relatively unknown. Given the advantages of tablets, it is expected that Samsung would gain significant market share rapidly in the near future.”

With tablets replacing traditional IFE devices, the whole value chain will see a major change. This opens a new revenue stream in addition to food, insurance and seat allocation revenues for low cost carriers and one which is relatively easier to adopt. Hence, adoption is expected to be rapid. American Airlines, AirAsia have adopted the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 while Qantas has adopted iPads, provided by Panasonic.

“The dynamics of the industry will alter significantly with Samsung making major inroads into the market. The service providers, maintenance technologies and processes will alter according to changes in the industry,” Ravi added.

 

Who’s going to buy an iPad 3 and why (infographic)

Monday, February 27th, 2012

AYTMReports say the iPad 3 may be announced the first week of March, although the release date may be later.  AYTM Research (aytm) conducted research on what current iPad users are doing with their devices and what would motivate them to buy an iPad 3.

They collected the research in this infographic:

iPad 3 Statistics
Source: AYTM Research

Apple iPad3 coming March 7, smaller version may be in the works

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
ipad4

The iPad3 is due for unveiling March 7, while a smaller version is in the works.

Apple Inc. fans drool over every new release of the company’s hardware and March 7 they’ll get their first look at the new iPad3, accoridng to iMore.

Quoting “sources reliable in the past,” Rene Richie says, it will feature a quad-core Apple A6 system-on-a-chip, 2048×1536 Retina display, and possibly 4G LTE networking.

The site admits the 4G LTE and quad core system are both speculative at this point.

Rumors say the new iPad3 may also have better cameras.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is testing a smaller version of the iPad with a screen of about 8 inches, a size that would put it in competition with Amazon’s Kindle Fire – especially if priced lower.

Personally, we find the smaller form factor of the Kindle Fire is much easier to use generally than the 10-inch tablets we tried – although we haven’t used an iPad.

We think Apple needs some lower-priced entry level products now that cheap mp3 players are everywhere, high powered PC laptops go for under $500, and inexpensive tablets such as the Kindle Fire are available.

Kindle Fire update coming to fix browsing, touchscreen problems

Monday, December 12th, 2011

By Allan Maurer

Kindle Fire

A Kindle Fire tablet computer

Kindle Fire users will receive a software update in about two weeks that is aimed at correcting persistent problems reported by users, such as erratic touchscreen performance and an occasionally slow browser, the New York Times reports.

We experienced the touchscreen problems on our Kindle Fire – most users apparently have. It will react to accidental touches on the side, discombobulating the screen and at times seems to react to merely hovering a finger over the screen, yet be slow to respond to actual intentional touches.

The update is also intended to correct the slow browser response some users have experienced. We haven’t had that problem, but that may be because we often use the Pulse app to browse many of the sites we visit, ranging from the New York Times to Boing Boing.

In addition, the update will allow users to adjust privacy settings.

A disappointing experience?

The Times piece quotes a Silicon Valley consultant and usability expert who says the Kindle Fire offers a “disappointing experience.”

We’re not sure what the people who have reported these negative experiences with the Fire are doing. We’ve had our difficulties with the virtual keyboard and touch navigation, but we’ve had those problems with many digital devices we tested, including several Android phones and the 10-inch Galaxy tablet.

But we’ve found the device useful for laying abed and checking email or web sites, playing games such as Angry Birds and chess, and even watching a movie using the month-long free Amazon Prime membership you get buying a Kindle Fire. We also predicted that the company would address some of the complaints about the Fire in our first review of the device.

Good buy for the money

We still think it is a good buy for the money, although at least one competitor is launching a $99 tablet that could be serious competition to other 7-inch devices if it performs as advertised. The usability expert consulted by the Times suggested that if you have “fat fingers” you might find using the device frustrating, and we admit, we have small hands.

We admit, that as many others have noted, reading on the original Kindle e-reader with its non-glare, paper like E-ink, is still preferable to reading on any LED screen.

We were pleased to discover we could use the Kindle Fire as another Internet Radio with the Pandora app and one of the free radio apps. We’re fans of sites such as the French “Classic and Jazz” Internet station and our own Pandora mixes. It would be helpful to have a physical volume control and even at high, we find the volume occasionally low without using headphones. But you can’t have everything for $200 – yet.

Tablets of all types have proved extremely popular and many consumers would prefer a table to a laptop as a gift this season.

Amazon says an improved version of the device is planned soon, probably by spring, while a larger version that may be a real competitor to the iPad is also in the works.

Personally, we wouldn’t mind if the digital equipment makers we buy from – Amazon included but not only them – would offer to upgrade hardware as well as software when they introduce improved models within months of a launch.

 

A $99 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet may shake up the market

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Novo 7Would you buy a $99 tablet computer the manufacturer says has not sacrificed performance for a low price?

MIPS Technologies and CPU Ingenic Semiconductor have introduced just such a device, the Novo7.

The new tablet runs Android’s much-touted “Ice Cream Sandwich” operating system, has a 7-inch touchscreen, a 1GHz processor, front and rear facing cameras, supports WiFi and external 3G connections.

It has connections for USB 2.0, HDMI 1.3, and a microSD slot. It even includes 3D graphics capabilities with a Vivante GC860 BPU and 1080p video decoding.

It comes with a Spiderman game installed and says its XBurst chip provides realistic graphics and fast games. It claims the battery will last six hours for games, 25 hours for music, eight hours for video and 7 for browsing web sites. It lasts up to 300 hours on standby.

Wow. If this device performs as well as claimed (we’ve asked for a demo unit), it’s likely to change the dynamics of tablet sales. It has more features than the Amazon Kindle Fire we recently bought (and still enjoy) and is the first to run the Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. At $99, we might even buy a couple as Christmas gifts if they are available and it runs as advertised.

Clicking on the buy button on the Novo7 site, however, led us to “Sorry, your item is sold out notice.”

We haven’t seen one of these yet – but here’s a video from the company showing it off:

Tablet owners turning away from other devices

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

tablet computersThere has been much speculation about how using a Tablet will impact the amount of time users spend with other media and other activities. New research from GfK MRI’s iPanel shows that a majority of Tablet owners who participate in video games report they use a video game console or a handheld video game less often as a result of owning their Tablet.

Moreover, 44% of Tablet owners say they read printed books less often, 42% say they read hard copy newspapers less often and 41% say they use a desktop or laptop computer less often as a result of owning a Tablet.

GfK MRI’s online iPanel is composed of more than 3,000 adult eReader and Tablet owners.

Activities that have been far less impacted by the use of Tablets include playing sports, going to the movies and socializing with friends/family.

Tablet Owners
Activities Done “Less Often” as a Result of Owning Tablet*
% Tablet Owners
Use a Video Game Console/Handheld Video Game 59%
Read Printed/Paper Books 44%
Read Paper Newspapers 42%
Use a Desktop/Laptop Computer 41%
Read Printed/Paper Magazines 40%
Watch Television 25%
Use a Cell Phone/Smartphone 23%
Play Sports 19%
Go to the Movies 17%
Socialize with Friends/Family 9%
*Among those who do this activity. Source: GfK MRI iPanel

“The fact that a majority of game-playing Tablet owners report using a video game console or a handheld video game less often as a result of owning a Tablet does not necessarily mean they are playing video games less often,” said Risa Becker, VP, Research at GfK MRI. “But it does suggest that Tablet owners are moving their gaming from other devices to the Tablet.”

As evidence of this, “Games” is the most popular type of app among Tablet owners: 69% used a Games Tablet app in the last 30 days, followed by Tablet apps for Social Networking (59% of owners), Weather (58% of owners), Music (53% of owners) and Entertainment (48% of owners).

While not quite as popular, more than one-quarter of Tablet owners used a Newspaper or Magazine Tablet app in the last 30 days. Considering the fact that there is not yet a dedicated newsstand in the Apple app store, and that many magazines have not, to date, created a Tablet app version, this is a fairly strong showing.

Tablet Owners
Types of Tablet Apps Used in Last 30 Days.
% Tablet Owners
Games 69%
Social Networking 59%
Weather 58%
Music 53%
Entertainment 48%
Books 42%
Shopping/Retail 40%
Navigation/Maps 38%
Banking/Finance 36%
Local 31%
Cooking/Recipes 31%
Newspaper 28%
News (Other than Newspaper) 27%
Sports 27%
Magazine 27%
Travel 25%
Photography 23%
Health/Fitness 21%
Source: GfK MRI iPanel.

For additional iPanel insights, view a 3-minute video: Tablet Behavior & Attitudes.

Amazon debuts Kindle Fire at $199, plus, a $79 Kindle

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Kindle Fire

A Kindle Fire tablet computer

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) says it will sell its new Kindle Fire tablet computer, the subject of much Internet speculation, for $199, undercutting Apple’s cheapest iPad, which is $499.

The device has, as predicted, a 7-inch screen and runs on Google’s Android operating system. It lacks a camera and a microphone, offers WiFi but not 3G, and boasts what early reviewers say is an easy-to-use interface on top of the Android OS.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is the only competitor with media offerings similar to what Apple has, analysts say.

Here’s Bloomberg’s report on the Kindle Fire and its potential to disrupt the tablet market, affects on relevant stocks and on Amazon itself. Some analysts think the 7-inch model of the new Amazon device is a “tweener,” and a device will need at least a 10-inch screen to compete seriously in the tablet market. Do you agree?

A larger, 10-inch screen version of the new Kindle Fire is expected in the first quarter of 2012.

Personally, I love my Kindle (and Amazon just unveiled a new, $79 model) but I haven’t been impressed with any of the tablet computers I’ve tested. They’re too heavy to hold comfortably for photography or reading and working with virtual keyboards doesn’t light my fire.

I wouldn’t mind having some additional features on the Kindle: an easier way to scroll through a book’s text or move around in the book itself, especially for those saved as text or Word docs rather than as Kindle (Mobi) docs. Color would be nice sometimes, but a color LED screen is going to take a toll on the battery and one of the regular Kindle’s most endearing qualities is that the battery charge lasts weeks.

But we’ll withhold any judgement calls on the new Kindles until we get to try one. –Allan Maurer

The Associated Press weighed in with this report.

Tablets gaining a foothold as a work device

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
iPad 2

Apple's iPad2

While it’s no surprise that employees admit to logging in after hours and on vacation, new data reveals they’re increasingly using their personal tablets to maintain a work/life balance.

According to survey results from Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples Inc., more than 60 percent of tablet owners even admit to powering on their tablet during vacation to check in with the office or do work.

Personally, we remain skeptical that tablets will replace laptops and PCs for work, but the Staples study (and iPad sales) tend to suggest that the general public loves them.

Tablets represent the latest device to bridge the worlds of both home and office, the study says, in part because of their convenience, ease of use and portability. About 80 percent of tablet owners say they enjoy an improved work/life balance because of the technology and cite the following business benefits:

  • Increased productivity – Almost 60 percent of survey respondents say they get more work done using a tablet.
  • Communication central – More than 40 percent said staying connected with colleagues and clients was the primary motivator for buying a tablet.
  • Easy to work – About 75 percent of tablet users check email. One-third review and edit documents on their device.

Mobility Wins Over Functionality

What’s the number one motivator for owning a tablet? The winner (at more than 90 percent) is the convenience of portability. Being able to tuck a tablet into a portfolio or small bag was more important than the ability to video conference, the device’s operating system or easy access to office email and VPN. Convenience was so important to survey respondents that they also admitted using a tablet in bed (78 percent), in the bathroom (35 percent), and at a restaurant (30 percent).

We’re using tablet-like devices – a Kindle for instance – in those situations now. We’re thinking about upgrading to an e-reader like device with more functions, perhaps one of the newer units coming out later this year, mostly for that reason – convenience and portability.  But the Staples study says they’re also being increasingly used for business.

With the rise of tablets being used as a business device, there is concern about security. As with any device, Staples recommends good security and data protection practices to guard against data loss or malware.

Currently, two-thirds of tablet owners do not regularly back up data on their devices. With the advent of hosted cloud servcies, data can be stored on a remote server rather than on the tablet. This way, if the device is lost or stolen, work documents and other data are not at risk. Tablet users should also install and update security software. Less than 15 percent of those surveyed have installed encryption or anti-virus software on their tablets.

Tablet Excitement Continues to Grow

This year, a multitude of tablet models have been introduced into the market, 95 percent of which are being used as a supplemental device to a laptop/PC, according to the Staples survey. However, more than 60 percent of current tablet owners think tablets will someday serve as their primary computing device.

We’re in the 40 percent that thinks we’ll need a more work-friendly device than a tablet, at least one of the those currently available. How about you? Ready to switch to tablet-only?

 

Rise of tablets forcing further decline of paper publications

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Media tablets are on pace to become a ubiquitous, mass-market, consumer product faster than any-other previously released, technological device.

Tablet Computer Sales

The powerful implications of this rapid adoption on publication paper markets is the subject of a new study The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Marketspublished by RISI, the leading information provider for the global forest products industry.

The market for media tablets – consisting of tablet computers (including Apple’s iPad) and electronic readers (including Amazon’s Kindle) – exploded in 2010.

By the end of the first year of availability, over 15 million tablet computers were in use. In North America alone, the size of the electronic reader market almost doubled, with over 10 million in use. Early-on, signs of trouble for the publication paper market became clear:

  • In 2010, the top free app in Apple’s iTunes store was iBooks.
  • A Morgan Stanley inquiry discovered that 42% of US tablet owners will cancel their print newspaper subscription
  • In May of this year, Amazon.com announced that ebook sales now exceed those of printed book sales in the U.S

“Many graphic paper producers make their living selling paper to the publishing industry, those companies will be greatly affected by media tablets,” explains John Maine, RISI’s Vice President World Graphic Paper and Study Team Leader.  “Significant demand impacts could come as soon as 2012.

The Report finds that by 2015, most publishing paper end uses in North America, such as magazine, newspaper and book publishing, will fall 12-21% compared to their 2010 levels.

This is on top of the massive collapse that occurred during the recent recession. Paper use in North American books, magazines and newspapers could see another 40-50% fall over the next 15 years.

Market declines are also anticipated in Europe, especially for printed newspapers, but the percentage losses in the Western European market will be somewhat less than North America because of a reduced rate of media tablet adoption and fragmented media markets.

The Impact of Media Tablets on Publication Paper Markets forecasts the decline by grade and end-use in the Publication Paper Market over the next five, ten and fifteen years, analyzing the effects of e-readers and tablet computers on the North American and Western European markets.  The forecast covers three scenarios: a base case, strong impact case (with quicker diffusion of tablets to the mass market) and a weak impact scenario.

Brands need to shift strategies to nab mobile buyers

Friday, August 19th, 2011

SmartphonesRetailers and brands will need to shift their sales and marketing strategies to respond to the growing influence of mobile devices on consumer behavior, according to the new L.E.K. Consulting Mobile Commerce Survey.

Broadly, two-thirds of smart phone or tablet owners today have used their devices to make purchases and more than 80 percent have used them to assist in purchasing decisions through product research at least once during the past year.

Digging deeper, L.E.K. found that 39 percent actually make purchases with their handheld devices at least every month (excluding music and video downloads), with 60 percent using smart phones to research purchases each month in a variety of ways — we refer to these consumers as “Active Mobile Consumers” and those smart phone owners who shop less frequently as “Mobile Window Shoppers.”

“Mobile is the enabler: consumers using mobile for shopping have new expectations for pricing standardization across channels, require a steady stream of promotions to remain engaged, and want to capitalize on powerful tools that enable them to access independent recommendations, price comparisons, the opinions of friends, and reviews anytime, anywhere,” said Jon Weber, Vice President of L.E.K. Consulting.

Now is the time

“Now is the time for retailers and brands to ensure that they meet the needs of the new mobile consumer, and are ready to compete in this new marketplace.”

The L.E.K Consulting Mobile Commerce Survey identifies four key findings that will impact businesses:

1. Driving Price Harmonization: During the past six months, more than half of Active Mobile Consumers surveyed reported using at least one mobile coupon app (e.g., Coupon Clipper), nearly one-third checked a pricing comparison tool (e.g., RedLaser), and 29% tapped a loyalty or similar tool (e.g., Shopkick). And they did this while standing in store aisles.

This new level of price transparency across stores and channels provides consumers with added impetus to seek out the best deals — and demand that pricing be consistent across a retailer or a brand’s distribution channels.

2. Fostering Deeper Customer Relationships: More than half of Active Mobile Consumers are willing to share their location with brands in exchange for real-time offers when they “check in” via Foursquare or similar geolocation-based apps, which is twice the rate of Mobile Window Shoppers. And 37% of Active Mobile Consumers are willing to have brands track them all the time in order to receive special deals. By contrast, only 14% of Mobile Window Shoppers are willing to do the same. Based on our broader work in this area, it appears that privacy concerns significantly outweigh the allure of special offers for this group.

However, brands must provide the right incentives to keep mobile consumers engaged and willing to share certain information. Marketing tactics with an immediate payoff resonate strongly with this consumer group (e.g., coupons, discounts, rewards or loyalty points).

3. Increasing the Influence on Social Media: Active Mobile Consumers are much less influenced by traditional information sources than their older counterparts. Instead, they turn to independent reviews, friends and family for recommendations before making purchases; and mobile puts these powerful influences in the palm of their hand in the aisle.

4. Enabling Flash Retailers: The immediacy of mobile shopping creates new opportunities for consumers to keep up with the latest deals on flash sales sites like Gilt Groupe and Rue La La. More than 40% of Active Mobile Consumers use flash sites, which is more than twice the percentage of Mobile Window Shoppers.

Importantly, flash sites are also disrupting the market by capturing share of planned purchases from other channels. L.E.K. found that flash sites are successfully penetrating traditional purchasing decisions for Active Mobile Consumers, and driving conversion given the immediacy and perishability of the mobile flash proposition.

Implications
“While the dollars being spent on mobile devices today are still small, our research shows that the influence of mobile devices on the behavior of consumers is much more significant and has more immediate implications for both retailers and brands,” said Alan Lewis, Vice President of L.E.K. Consulting. “Our research also highlights that these trends apply across all categories as consumers have a similar mix of category purchases on their mobile devices as they do on the web.”

The report is based on L.E.K.’s survey of 1,600 U.S. consumers to better understand how mobile technology is changing consumers’ decision-making and purchase behavior. Additional findings are available in the L.E.K. Executive Insights report titled, “The Marketplace of the Mobile Consumer: What to Expect.”

Mobile devices driving consumer electronics growth to record high

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

CEAMobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are expected to drive consumer electronics sales to a record high of $190 billion in 2011, says a new report from the Consumer Electronics Association.

“One year ago, tablets were a new and unproven market, and now they, along with other mobile connected devices including smartphones and e-readers, are leading the entire industry to positive growth,” Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, said.

Smartphone sales are predicted to increase 45 percent to $223 billion, with tablet sales hitting $14 billion. We get the smartphone revolution, but the success of tablets still surprises us.

“Innovation continues to drive the electronics industry to record levels, even in the face of declining economic growth overall,” said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro. “Newer, innovative product categories, like tablets, not only meet consumer demand but also help bolster our industry and strengthen the overall American economy.”

CEA expects consumer electronics growth to continue thorugh 21012, reaching a $197 billion high in shipment revenue.

 

In-store tech critical for retail growth, CRM, study says

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

HPSeventy percent of retailers are empowering their employees with technology-enabled touch points to help their businesses to differentiate and evolve, according to a recent RSR Research report cosponsored by HP (NYSE: HPQ).

By arming their staff with a range of technologies that provide relevant and timely information – such as digital signage, self-service kiosks, mobile devices and advanced point-of-sale (POS) systems – retailers can increase productivity and boost multichannel selling opportunities.

Other key findings in the June 2011 survey of nearly 100 retail executives from around the world include:

  • Retailers see valuable support in self-service kiosks (43 percent) and cross-channel customer and inventory synchronization technologies through real-time updates (70 percent).
  • Seventy-eight percent of retailers listed their modern POS systems as an important factor in the customer experience. Offering in-store rewards or coupons also is seen as critical (75 percent).
  • Fifty-seven percent of retailers believe delivering information to store-owned phones, tablets and PDAs has a lot of potential value. In 2010, only 21 percent perceived these solutions as valuable.

The research report is available for download at “The 21st Century Store: The Search for Relevance.”

(2) See also: “The Customer Centric Store: How Retailers Engage Tech-enabled Customers,

Google Wi-fi e-reader coming July 17, will sell via Target

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Story HD

The Story HD from Google and iRiver

Google says its first e-reader based on the Google eBooks platform is due July 17,the company reports on its blog.

The iRiver Story HD, selling exclusively at Target for $139, uses Wi-Fi, but doesn’t support 3G.

Google says the device is slim and lightweight with a high-resolution e-ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard. It includes over-the-air access to hundreds of thousands of Google eBooks for sale and more than 3 million for free.

The Google blog reports: “We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers. Manufacturers like iriver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete ebookstore. You can also store your personal ebooks library in the cloud—picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet.”

We’re dedicated users of our Amazon Wi-fi Kindle, but a host of new e-readers and tablets with e-reader functions are headed for the market and some more advanced models such as the Color Nook are already available.

We tried the Samsung Galaxy Tablet and find tablets a bit too heavy for comfortable use as handheld readers. The Color Nook has the drawback of being a read-only device. Amazon is expected to launch a new tablet device sometime this year, but its features have yet to be disclosed.

We may gang test available dedicated e-readers later this year after new models surface. Are you using an e-reader? Any preferences? Let us know in the comments.

Apple Inc. accuses HTC of patent infringement, suit could stop imports of HTC devices

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

HTCApple Inc. claims that HTC, the second largest smartphone maker in Asia, has infringed its patents related to software architecture and user interfaces in portable electronic devices. Apple filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, which can block imports into the U.S. market.

Apple has also filed complaints against Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility Holdings.

Apple, which claims five of its patents have been infringed, is challenging competitors to its products that run Google’s Android smartphone operating system, which compete against its iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices.

HTC said through its general counsel that it is “dismayed” that Apple resorted to competition in court rather than the marketplace. The Taiawan-based company denies Apple’s claims against it.

We recently tested an HTC Win 7 phone that performed admirably. It was the easiest and most intuitive to use of all the smartphones we’ve tried.

HTC released its first tablet device, the Flyer, in March and its second, the EVO View 4G, with fast connections via Sprint’s 4G network. The EVO is apparently not targeted in the Apple suits.

HTC smartphones named in the suits include the Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO4G (the phone not the tablet) and Desire.

HTC recently opened an R& D center in Durham, NC and recently agreed to acquire S3 Graphics Co. for $300 million. S3 won an infringement ruling against Apple via the trade commission. HTC has also filed its own complaint with the commission against Apple, with findings expected SEpt. 16.

A trade commission judge will rule in Apple’s first case against HTC Aug. 5 in a decision subject to full commission review.

It’s understandable why Apple would try to stem the progress of Android devices, which claim the largest chunk – 38 percent – of the smartphone market, while Apple devices claim 27 percent. Apple derives half its sales from iPhone and 12 percent from iPads.

 

E-readers gaining, tablet growth slowing, both lag other devices, Pew says

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

PewInternetThe share of adults in the United States who own an e-book reader doubled to 12 percent in May, 2011  from 6 percent in November 2010.  E-readers, such as a Kindle or Nook, are portable devices designed to allow readers to download and read books and periodicals.

This is the first time since the Pew Internet Project began measuring e-reader use in April 2009 that ownership of this device has reached double digits among U.S. adults.

We have been using the Amazon Wi-Fi Kindle – the third iteration – since last year. In addition to the convenience of carrying hundreds of books around on a device that weighs about the same as a paperback (good-bye book bag), we listen to MP3 podcasts, old radio dramas, and audio books on the device. In a pinch, it’s Internet browser will let you check the news, Twitter, or other sites, but in black and white. Still we’re more pleased with this device than with many we use or have tested, from cell phones and tablets to PDAs and MP3 players.

We hear from those using a color Nook, or other e-readers that they are similarly pleased with their device. We’ll likely step up to one of the more advanced models at some point for the convenience of having additional features and a better browsing experience, but the e-Ink tech that lets you read even in full sunlight and doesn’t suck battery power is one feature we wouldn’t trade for color and zippy new bells and whistles.

Tablet growth slowing

Tablet computers—portable devices similar to e-readers but designed for more interactive web functions—have not seen the same level of growth in recent months.  In May 2011, 8 percent of adults report owning a tablet computer such as an iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Motorola Xoom.

This is roughly the same percentage of adults who reported owning this kind of device in January 2011 (7%), and represents just a 3 percentage-point increase in ownership since November 2010. Prior to that, tablet ownership had been climbing relatively quickly.

Personally, we find the tablets don’t meet our needs as yet. They all weight just a bit over a pound and a half, too heavy for being easily held as a reader or used as a camera. Virtual keyboards are not the best way to get any work done other than perhaps texting or light email. Still, we know folks who love their iPads and when we reviewed the Xoom, it’s advocates were not shy about sticking up for it.

We’ve said from the beginning we suspected that we did not see the utility of tablets, despite Apple’s amazing success with the iPad.

Here’s more from the Pew study:

Growth over time

These findings come from a survey conducted from April 26-May 22 among 2,277 adults ages 18 and over, including surveys in English and Spanish and on landline and cell phones. The margin of error for the sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Both e-book reader and tablet computer adoption levels among U.S. adults are still well below that of other tech devices that have been on the market longer. Cell phones are far and away the most popular digital device among U.S. adults today, followed by desktop and laptop computers, DVRs, and MP3 players.

Both e-reader and tablet ownership far behind other devices

There is notable overlap in e-reader and tablet computer ownership – 3% of US adults own both devices.  Nine percent own an e-book reader but not a tablet, while 5% own a tablet computer but not an e-reader.

Three percent of all adults own both an e-reader and a tablet

Further confirming the overall trend toward adoption of mobile devices, this survey marks the first time that laptop computers are as popular as desktop computers among U.S. adults.  In November of last year, desktop ownership outpaced laptop ownership by 8 percentage points, 61 percent to 53 percent.

This changing pattern is the result of both a steady decline in the popularity of desktops and a steady increase in the popularity of laptops over time.   Laptops have already overtaken desktops in popularity among adults under age 30, and appear poised to do the same among older adults.

We know many people who have shifted to working primarily on a laptop and others who never were desktop users to any great extent. Personally, though, we prefer the large desktop keyboard and our dual screen set-up for real work. Laptops are not ergonomically ideal. We find we get both hand and back strain from working on a laptop for any length of time.

We’d be willing to bet that more incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome will surface as people do significantly more work and play on their laptops.