updated 02:25 am EDT, Thu November 4, 2010
Android rising fast, Kindle OK, 3DTV loses out
Electronics polling firm Retrevo's latest survey of 1,000 consumer electronics buyers judges that smartphones, iPads and Windows 7 have been the the big "winners" of public approval, while 3D HDTVs, GPS devices and netbooks have fallen out of favor or failed to live up to their hype. Interestingly, Android smartphones are rated highly by the survey respondents, while Android tablets made the "losers" list -- and iPads have proven a fast hit with the public, with one-fifth of all the respondents already owning one, and another fifth planning on buying.
On the iPad question, only seven percent of respondents planned on buying a non-iPad tablet, which if borne out bodes well for Apple, but another 30 percent of respondents had no plans to buy any sort of tablet device -- but this is down from 50 percent who expressed disinterest before the iPad was launched back in April.
Interestingly, one-third of iPad owners also own a Kindle, and the Kindle continues to be well-regarded even in light of the increased competition from the iPad and other e-readers. Forty percent of owners who already own or plan to buy a Kindle also plan to buy an iPad, indicating that serious book readers feel comfortable having both devices.
Windows 7 was perceived by the public as a real improvement over Vista, and the fast adoption rate reported by Microsoft supports the survey results, which put Windows 7 at the top of the "winners" list. Correlating Microsoft's claims of 240 million copies of Windows 7 sold in its first year with the estimated worldwide base of 1.4 billion PCs, the software giant has managed to get the current Windows edition on just shy of one-quarter of their "installed base" in a very short period of time, and has emerged as a solid hit for the company.
The big "loser" in the consumer arena was 3D HDTV, which failed to make a good impression with the public despite the popularity of 3D movies in cinemas. Consumers seem to be unwilling to pay a premium for the hardware, and quality 3D content in Blu-Ray is still comparatively scarce, leading only three percent of respondents to say they plan to buy one this year. But like HDTVs and Blu-Ray itself, the market for such products could grow if the price comes down and more content becomes available.
One of the surprising results of the survey was the extent to which smartphones have replaced or caused respondents to use less of other electronic gadgets. In the age bracket of 25-44, smartphones have taken the place of point-and-shoot cameras, GPS devices, telephone landlines, casual-use camcorders and MP3 players for a large majority of respondents (between 60-90 percent, varying by device).
Also interesting was the slow rise in "comfort level" with mainstream consumers of streaming movies and TV. Fifty-three percent of respondents indicated an acceptance or enthusiasm for streaming movies and TV on or via computer equipment, a small rise from the previous survey last summer, though there is still a large contingent that are not (yet?) interested in streaming. The slow rise of streaming entertainment does not seem to affect people's plans to buy or use Blu-Ray or DVD players, but acts as a supplement.
Retrevo surveys consumer electronics buyers on a quarterly basis to discern trends and tastes in the industry. This most recent survey was conducted between October 22nd and October 28th and has a margin of error of four percent.