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Smartphones Take Gold; Tablets, Silver

8 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – Sure, they have small screens and keyboards, but smartphones are making the grade among consumers and have now been deemed the “dominant mobile devices of today, particularly among Generations X and Y,” according to a recent study by the customer research company, GfK Media.

Smartphones beat out tablets when it comes to mobile activities. However, tablets win when it comes to viewing full TV episodes and other activities where longer time frames and larger screen sizes can be decisive factors.

The study, called “How People Use Media: Smartphones and Tablets,” finds that consumers are more likely to use smartphones for 11 out of 15 common uses, including searching the Internet, listening to music and recording video. Users like tablets to play games, watch TV and read books or magazines.

David Tice, senior vice president of GfK, says in a press release that the amount of time people spend using smartphones is “creating a sense of comfort that seems to trump concerns about screen size.”

He predicts that as smartphones become larger and more viewing oriented, they may erode the tablet’s advantages for even long viewing sessions. And he adds that because Generations X and Y have an almost native ease with smartphones, the trend will only grow.

Comfort with using the smartphone varied among age groups. With smartphone viewers in Generation X (ages 33 to 46), 44 percent said they watch both clips and full episodes of TV shows on smartphones, compared to 24 percent for Generation Y (ages 13 to 32) and 17 percent for Baby Boomers (ages 47 to 54).

Also, 22 percent of Generation Y smartphone viewers report that their smartphone viewing is replacing time with regular TV, compared to 14 percent for Generation X and Baby Boomers.

The report also shows that, across eight program genres, 65 percent to 86 percent of smartphone viewers said that the small-screen experience is either “as good as regular TV” or “good enough.” Generation Y was most likely to report this agnostic view of screen size.

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