In a recent study conducted by Adobe Digital Index, a number of findings suggested that despite the greater ubiquitousness of smartphones, tablet PCs are well on their way to becoming the gadget-of-choice for mobile Internet access from here on in.
Through analysis of data using more than 100 billion visits to more than a thousand websites worldwide, Adobe found that 8% of overall Internet traffic came by way of tablet PCs, with smartphones garnering a 7% share. While these figures may seem not too far from each other, consider that every percent constitutes about a billion visits.
This comes on the heels of a related study conducted last year, where it was discerned that tablet users spend 54% more than smartphone surfers on online orders; and perhaps more surprisingly, 19% more than desktop and laptop users. It was also found that in the last holiday season, tablets made 13.5% of total online sales, more than double the figure generated by smartphones’ 6.5%.
Apart from Japan and China, all the major mobile-device-using countries in the world see a preference of tablets over smartphones for mobile online connectivity, especially in the UK, where tablet traffic peaks at 12.2%.
Countries favoring smartphones are Australia (although its figures are close enough), and the aforementioned Japan and China. All told though, the figures from those last three countries hardly make a dent towards the overall worldwide tally.
||Percentage of Internet Traffic via Smartphones
||Percentage of Internet Traffic via Tablet PCs
Furthermore, all these countries mentioned above saw their Internet traffic via tablet PCs double in the past year.
Both smartphones and tablets are classified as mobile devices, but there are notable differences between the two. Although the trends seem to indicate that both gadgets' functions are becoming more and more homogenized, as it stands, tablets and smartphones still have their own distinguishing identities. The latter are of course telecom devices first and everything else second, and the former are closer in usage and purpose to traditional PCs.
Most significantly, however, the tablet’s bigger form has proven to be more ideal for prolonged Internet browsing than a smartphone's smaller screen. Most sites even have different optimizations for each. This factor ultimately led to tablets becoming the preferred online surfing devices of the majority of consumers.
That said, the latest tablet releases seem to indicate that they're becoming smaller and smaller, with 7-inchers like the iPad mini, the HP Slate 7, and the ASUS Fonepad heralding this. Concurrently, smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Nokia Lumia 920, and the BlackBerry Z10 are also getting closer and closer towards the 5 inch mark.
Who knows? Maybe when mobile devices in general settle on a standard size of 6 inches, the dividing lines between tablet PCs and smartphones might finally disappear.