Tablets comming of age – Notes from Mobile Monday London

Posted on April 24, 2012


This was originally posted to my internal IBM blog on 13:12 23/03/2012, Steve Devo, fire, ipad, momo, nook, stats, tablets, Mobile Internet

About momo

Mobile Monday is a roughly monthly event in London.

It is free, and organised by volunteers who are keen to see a range of discussions about mobile technology, business and the like.

The sesh this week was on Tablets, and followed up on a similar sesh this time last year.

The panelists

he presenters/panelists were from Comscore, Barnes and Noble, A creative agency and a Guardian/freelance journo and headed up by the chap that runs MEX. (Mobile User Experience )

Marek Pawlowski – MEX
Claudia Romanini – Director Developer Relations, Barnes and Noble
Ben Scott Robinson – Creative Director, We Love Mobile
Hesham Al-Jehani – Product Manage, Mobile, ComScore
Stuart Dredge – Apps and Mobile Content Journalist

so the first part was asking the panelists about their experiences with tablets. Generally the comments were around the use of tablets by Kids (and toddlers) and older people. The consensus being that the interface and UI mechanisms are just easier than those of a PC. Later in the evening the question was asked if tablets (as their current incarnations) could replace a PC/Laptop with a view being that they have a way to go before they can make the replacement for the productivity apps that we rely on in the work place. I agree and for me the accuracy of the mouse and the ease of typing input are key, fingers and dictation are not yet up to the task. There was some talk about the use of pen or stylus input, and the fact that pans just do not work well with the capacitive screens was brought up. This means, that for now at least there is not a good solution to this. I hope someone fixes this soon as I find pen input to be the best (back when I had iPaq PDAs).

It was intreguing that the majority of examples used to illustrate the use of tablets was around the use by children and older people, with the addition of shared usage, for example doing the shopping or browsing for together with someone else. The use of tablets in the kitchen was mention, the kitchen being a place where almost no PC or laptop would venture. Joint reading sessions with children, and playing together seemed popular, and I wonder if this is because unlike a laptop there is no keyboard to get in the way and the screen is more easily placed for both parties to see.

Some stats

21% of usage of tablets is in bed (horizontal in bed was said, though how they know this I am not sure), and this is much higher than for smart phones, about double.

92% of usage of tablets is over wifi, whereas for mobiles htis is more like 70%. The thinking being that tablets are more likely to be used whilst being in a single place, eg work, home etc, and are used less whilst out and about. The fact that most tablets sold are wofo only, also feeds into this, so the true percentage of 3G usage for 3G enabled tablets will be higher.

Daily usage for PCs, and phones and tablets all have a peak over lunch (noon), however there is another peak for tablet usage between 9pm and 11pm. This chimes well with the usage of the internet, so I guess people are people, and this is when they get their free time to use the internet.

For tablets about 30% of usage is in front of the TV, so says comscore, and this is 20% for smartphones and 15% for e-readers / books. Therefore there is a key driver around the use of a tablet as a secondary device, and the creative on the panel explained that they are struggling to get the traditional advertisers to understand that there is a good chance of getting immediate interaction if they target their adverts with tablet content.

B&N Nook

For the B&N Nook they told us that some 70% of the buyers are women, aged 25 to 45 which matches their in shop demographic. They attract a lot of women, apparently, because they have play areas for kiddies and even provide nooks on tables for the little ones to play with.

The B&N person went on to explain that the Nook is a tablet that was designed first and foremost to be a reading device. They went to some lengths to hide the “confusion” of android from their user. they characterise their user as “Julie” who does own a smart phone but hardly uses any apps because they may not know how to do this. The nook people spent a lot of time with magazines ensuing that these work as well as possible, because it is an important segment to their readers, and the articles are read, it is not just browsing. That said they did add Netflix and Hulu on the device from day 1, as movies and tv are important.

Of the apps that are available on the nook some 1/3 are children/family, 1/3 are “lifestye/female” (which includes magazine specials etc).

Other stuff

Talk of the use of HTML5 to make Rich Internet Apps (RIA) rather than native apps, raised it’s head again (this was a big topic last year). the FT was used as a standout example of RIAs, and several publications are effectively apps that just wrap the web content. The reason provided was that the discovery mechanism on tablets is the app market and therefore if you’re not in the app store then your not going to be found.

It was noted that Dell recently gave up on android as they were unable to make it work for them. given that this was a momo meeting filled with people who are a: mobile centric, and b: turned up for the tablet meeting, there was a show of hands for who develops for which platform. of the 200 or so people 50 for iPad, 25 for Android, 8 for Playbook and 0 (that’s a big fat none) for Windows 8.

The question “will the tablet replace TV, cinema, books as a primary entertainment platform” and the majority answer was “no”, because a TV is a shared experience, and the tablet is not, similarly cinema, people go as much for the experience and shared emotion you get in the cinema as for the large screen.

However tablets (and the larger screened smartphones) will become ever more important as a secondary device.

Posted in: Uncategorized