updated 05:20 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Nielsen shows tablet, phone, e-reader habits
Tablet owners are most often doing something else while they use their devices, Nielsen found in an uncommon look at how users depend on the iPad, tablets and other devices like e-readers. A full 70 percent of US tablet owners say they use their devices while watching TV, and the viewing time represents about 30 percent of the time spent. The next favorite place was in bed, at 57 percent of people and 21 percent of their time.
E-reader owners, appropriate to the nature of the devices, were much more likely to use theirs in situations where there were few interruptions. Bed was by far the most likely location for use and accounted for 61 percent of owners and 37 percent of their reading time. If not reading, those with Kindles and Nooks were most likely to be using a reader while waiting at 32 percent of people and nine percent of time.
Smartphone users were much more easily balanced. Use while watching TV still led habits at 68 percent, but most other situations had about 50 percent of people involved. The pocketability understandably helped usage in areas that wasn't practical for the larger two devices and was especially popular for shopping, waiting for people, and commutes. With the exception of TV, the time spent was much more evenly split as well at usually just over 10 percent.
While not necessarily out of line with expectations, the results showed that tablets like the iPad were noticeably more social devices and used most in situations that would otherwise have involved a notebook. Apple has often encouraged using the iPad as a reading device but, in the studied conditions, may not see them in practice.