ipad1[2]Wired is covering a survey that looks at the effect tablets have on the sales of other electronic devices. One of the major findings of the survey is that tablets are a lot more likely to replace dedicated e-readers (that is, the people surveyed said that after buying a tablet they no longer plan to buy an e-reader) than gaming devices. The survey also identified laptops as a device many new tablet owners no longer felt like buying. The number of people who feel this way for both of these devices increased from 2010 to 2011.

However, the number of new tablet-owners who said they would not buy portable gaming devices, mp3 players, gaming consoles, and smartphones whas declined from 2010 to 2011. It’s not clear whether this decline is explained only by the numbers for laptops and e-readers rising.

Of course, the survey doesn’t take into account those people who don’t want a tablet but do want an e-reader—but still, signs suggest something might happen similar to the way the smartphone killed off the phoneless PDA ten years ago. Sooner or later, all our hand-held media devices might become multifunctional.


  1. Of course, there was the other recent survey that showed 8% of US adults owning tablets, and 3% of US adults owning both a tablet and an eReader. That’s ~35% of tablet owners wanting both. My personal experience is that, over time, about half of tablet owners decide they want an eReader as well. And with the prices these days, it’s an easy purchase for someone that already could afford a tablet.

  2. I don’t see serious readers reading for hours on a tablet. They are just too big, too heavy, and too hard on the eyes. Tablets are neat toys for videos, pictures, and Facebook, but not heavy reading or serious computing.

  3. Do these surveys ever ask about what kind of reading the responder is referring to? For example, I know a person who often states he has no use for a dedicated eink ereader device because of his iPad, which he finds to be a great way to read. But when asked what he reads, it boils down to maybe 1 novel a year and a couple of online magazines each month. Consequently, his statement makes a great deal of sense — the 6-inch eink devices aren’t great for reading magazines that are heavy on photos and illustrations and make necessary use of color, whereas the tablet is a great way to read those magazines but a less-than-ideal way to read a novel a week. These statistical pronouncements seem to leave a lot of necessary and basic information out of the equation and thus are less valuable than headlines suggest.

  4. All multi-use electronic devices have impacts on other devices, multifunction and dedicated. A recent report stated that smartphone users were less likely to own a computer or laptop. I used to read ebooks on PDAs, and was happy to do so… until Nook Color allowed me to read magazines digitally. And now that I have a Nook Color, I don’t need a tablet. A study that included the items people would not buy after purchasing the other devices in question might have been nice.

  5. Oddly, I just bought a Nook Touch after buying an Ipad. Partly because I’m a publisher and want to test on Nook, but partly because sometimes I wanted something cheaper and more portable. Another reason to go for the e-ink devices is that the ipad Nook app has been buggy and doesn’t update with your purchases or downloads…So there’s room for both — although to be fair, the ipad is my preferred place to read. Robert Nagle http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblogs/idiotprogrammer/

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