Tablets, Tablets Everywhere.

new_ipad_hero_front-580-75When Apple introduced the iPad in 2010, I admit I thought the tablet was very interesting but was a “novelty” device. I viewed the iPad as a larger iPhone. Neat, but hardly a Macbook/PC surrogate. A niche product with modest universal appeal, I thought.

I was wrong (wasn’t the first time & won’t be the last either).  I said as much in an earlier Struming, The Tablet Breakout

Tablets are reaching the tipping point of penetration and those who use them are the more technological advanced, affluent users. comScore reports that roughly ¼ of every smartphone owners — i.e., connected, higher-income consumers – used  tablets during the three-month average period ending April 2012. Those #s increase daily.

“Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and perhaps most notably, in the home. It’s not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits, including TV viewing,”” said Mark Donovan, comScore SVP, mobile.

Not surprising the tablet user is also an affluent user. About 60% of tablet users are in households of $75,000+ income, slightly more than smart phone users at 50%. While tablet users tend to be older than smartphone users, the gap should decrease over time. There is in fact a correlation of smart phone usage and tablet usage as the growth of tablet usage is greater among households with smart phone users than those which have traditional mobile phones.

I believe that the new “bundled” data plans just announced by Verizon, which are effective June 28, will accelerate this phenomena. This plan was rumored to be coming weeks ago–See earlier Struming: Wireless Big Bang : Shared Data Plans. No doubt AT&T, the other wireless goliath will respond with their bundled plan shortly as well.

In this new shared data plan, called Share Everything, Verizon smartphone and tablet users can bundle their family data usage and pay for tiered data usage, not phone minutes. It’s a radical approach that will incent tablet usage since a separate data plan for the tablet will not be required, just a no cost hot spot and then a bundled data plan. Cool. (But beware: data is not unlimited).

Video usage on tablets is now becoming significant enough that Nielsen now has a measurement system to capture iPad and other tablet usage that is being tested by large media companies. The move is a natural extension of Nielsen’s efforts in its extended screen work, where it would add tablet data into a system with TV and PC measurement.

Apple’s iPad dominates the tablet market and shows no signs of slowing down. Expectations are for iPad share of the tablet market to increase from 58% last year to more than 62% this year and increase even more in the future, as Android platform tablets decrease. Furthermore, Apple is rumored to be working on a 7 inch tablet at a price point of less than $300 which would further crush competitive incursions.

In technology nothing stays the same. Change is the status quo. Tablets are here to stay. Wonder what’s next?

More Strumings

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