Cell phones, including feature and smartphones top the electronic gadget list in the U.S., followed by desktops and laptops, according to Pew. Look out for the rise of tablets.
The rise of mobile computing devices has been well-trodden ground in the
media for the last few years, but researchers are crunching new data to
quantify the growth and adoption of cell phones, gaming consoles and computers.
Cell phones lead the pack. Pew Internet and American Life Project found that some 85 percent of U.S.
citizens now own a cell phone, with 96 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds owning a
handset to make calls and send text messages or surf the Web and use Internet
While calling via a phone has become a natural communications medium, we
might also thank edgy smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, as well as gadgets
based on Google's Android operating system and the forthcoming Microsoft
Windows Phone 7, for boosting the demand for mobile phones.
Pew, which surveyed 3,001 American adults between Aug. 9 and Sept. 13, found
that computers were the No. 2 gadget, with 76 percent of Americans owning a
desktop or laptop.
While that number would no doubt seem low to those working in the computing
industry, Pew research specialist Aaron Smith said laptop ownership has grown
from 30 percent to 52 percent since 2006, with ownership of desktop machines
So the proliferation of laptops triggered a decline in desktops, but what
machines will precipitate a drop in laptops? Tablet computers, of course.
It's early days yet for tablets such as Apple's iPad and the emerging
Samsung Galaxy Tab and tablet devices based on Google's Android operating
system from Archos, LG and Dell, among others.
As these devices gain traction among consumers-ABI
Research anticipates 11 million tablets will ship by year's end-businesses
will have to adapt and begin ordering tablets for their employees.
At the least, IT managers may be tasked with providing enterprise-grade
security for employees who buy their own tablet and want to use it for work.
But tablets and their electronic reader devices such as the Amazon Kindle
are proving popular among the early adopters, Pew found.
"However, these devices are proving popular with traditional early
adopter groups such as the affluent and highly educated-ownership rates for
tablets and e-book readers among college graduates and those earning $75,000 or
more per year are roughly double the national average," Smith said.
Rounding out the popular device list are MP3 players, with 47 percent of
Americans owning an MP3 player such as an Apple iPod, up from the 11 percent
who owned such a gadget in 2005.
Some 42 percent of Americans polled said they owned game consoles such as
Microsoft's Xbox or Sony's PlayStation.
Interestingly, 8-in-10 Americans own two or more of these devices, with the
average adult owning three of the 7 gadgets considered for Pew's survey.
Moreover, device ownership is often correlated with age, with younger survey
participants under 45 claiming to own four devices and those 55 and up owning
just two or a single gadget.