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Tablet Size Can Shape Its Use

Smaller tablets used less for email, more for social networking

December 5, 2012 | Mobile

The tablet’s quick rise has been driven in part by touch-based user interfaces that have the potential to make using devices easier and faster. And while the Apple iPad’s 10-inch form factor dominated the tablet’s ascent, original equipment manufacturers are now serving up a number of smaller devices—the most well-known likely being Google’s Nexus 7 and the new iPad mini—in the hopes of hitting every possible tablet market.

But for these newer, smaller tablets, is form dictating function? Data gathered on US mobile web users in October by tablet publishing and ad provider Onswipe seems to suggest so. Their report found significant differences in social sharing behaviors on various touchscreen devices. About 49% of sharing on 10-inch tablets was conducted via email, compared with 30% on mini tablets. And those on smaller tablets were using Facebook and Twitter at noticeably higher rates than those on a 10-inch tablet.

Social Sharing on US Touchscreen Devices, by Channel, Oct 2012 (% of total)

Worldwide, smaller tablets are set to grow explosively in the near term, aided by the entry of the iPad mini into the market. An October estimate from IHS iSuppli projected that about 17 million 7-inch tablets would ship globally this year, with the figure doubling to 34 million units in 2013.

And the iPad mini will no doubt help Apple in its continued dominance of tablet web traffic. Onswipe found that 98% of web traffic on tablets came via an iPad. By comparison, all Samsung Galaxy models combined came in a very distant second, accounting for only 1.5% of traffic.

US Tablet Web Traffic, by Device, Oct 2012 (% of total)

With small tablets still relatively new to the market, advertisers have a new form factor to keep in mind as they optimize and design for mobile.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Travel SEM Is at a Crossroads” and “Advertisers in Mexico Tread Into Mobile.”



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