The Apple iPad and its competitors are changing the way consumers spend their electronics-budget dollars. According to the Nielsen Company, tablets are also changing the way consumers use their devices.
Among tablet owners who also own a desktop, 35 percent said that they now use their desktop "less often or not at all," the firm reported in a May 5 blog post, citing a survey it fielded this spring. The same was the case with laptop and e-reader owners. Thirty-two percent of laptop owners said they now use their laptops "less often or never," and 27 percent of e-reader owners said the same.
Additionally, 25 percent of portable game console owners have let those devices get dusty since purchasing their tablets, Nielsen reported-a fact Sony likely already knows or suspects. In April the company-after a bit of standing back to get a survey of things-introduced two tablets, one of which-a dual-screen model known for now by the code name "S2"-bears a strong likeness to Nintendo's DS console.
Sony has also shared that in a year's time, it plans to take second place in the tablet market. First place will still belong to Apple, Kunimasa Suzuki, head of Sony's computer division, told Reuters in January.
The Nielsen findings concur. Though newer entrants, such as the Samsung Galaxy and Motorola Xoom-and more recently the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook-are "heating up" the tablet market in the United States, "iPad continues to dominate the conversation-and the market," wrote Nielsen.Why the switch to tablets, from the laptops or other devices they would have used previously? The No. 1 answer was convenience, with 31 percent of survey participants saying it was easy to carry or take with them. Another 21 percent pointed to the ease of the tablet's interface or operating system, while 12 percent turned most quickly to their tablets for the devices' instant on/off feature.Other motivations, given by 7 to 12 percent of users, included the tablet's size, the ability to use it in multiple locations, its speed, its light weight and the appeal of its applications and other features.In recent quarters, as tablet sales have climbed, many analysts have insisted that tablets aren't replacements for PCs, and chalked up slowed PC sales to consumer curiosity, with many waiting to see some long-promised devices come to market before going ahead with a purchase. However, some analysts are now seeing tablets cut into PC sales."The pad"-as research firm Canalys refers to the tablet form factor-"represents a real threat to PC and consumer electronics vendors, as it is capable of replacing devices in a range of other categories," Canalys analyst Tim Coulling said in an April 28 statement.To keep this ball rolling, "vendors should continue to promote content consumption as an important benefit of pads, especially as ownership spreads to older consumers, while highlighting other uses of the device and preloading advanced browsers and localized messaging and social networking apps," Canalys Chief Analyst Adam Daum advised. "Pad app stores also need to offer a broader inventory of both apps and content designed to take full advantage of a pad's size and functionality."According to Canalys figures, 6.4 million tablets shipped worldwide during the first quarter of 2011, 74 percent of which were the Apple iPad. Still, the firm noted that the iPad shipments were down 31 percent sequentially, as-following Apple's introduction of the iPad 2-consumers patiently delayed their purchases.With the iPad or iPad 2 reaching 59 markets by the end of the quarter, "Apple continued with its strategy to dominate the pad market," Canalys reported.