ComScore: A quarter of U.S. smartphone users have a tablet

Nearly one in four U.S. smartphone users also has a tablet, according to a report from research firm comScore, evidence the firm said shows tablet adoption has reached a "critical mass."

Two years after Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad ushered in a consumer-focused tablet craze, tablet adoption has surged. The firm found that 23.6 percent of smartphone users in the three-month period ending in April 2012 had a tablet, up from 9.7 percent in the year-ago period. Among all mobile users, tablet adoption leapt from 4.7 percent to 16.5 percent in the same time span.

The figures show that multi-device data plans, which Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) intends to introduce this summer, could find favor with consumers in households with multiple devices. Although the structure of such plans are not yet clear, subscribers will be able to share a package of data between multiple devices.

ComScore's report didn't specifically cover the number of tablets that can connect to cellular networks. However, recent research has found that most tablets only connect to W-Fi networks. Thus, wireless carriers are keen to entice tablet users onto cellular networks.  

ComScore also found, consistent with other analyst firms, that tablet users are drawn to video and other high-data services. Fully 53 percent of tablet users said they used their tablet to watch video at least once a month, compared with 20 percent of smartphone users who said the same about their device. Of the tablet users surveyed by comScore, 18.9 percent said they watched video once a week and 9.5 percent said they watched video daily.

"Tablets are one of the most rapidly adopted consumer technologies in history and are poised to fundamentally disrupt the way people engage with the digital world both on-the-go and perhaps most notably, in the home," said Mark Donovan, comScore's senior vice president of mobile. "It's not surprising to see that once consumers get their hands on their first tablet, they are using them for any number of media habits including TV viewing."

ComScore said it defines a media tablet as a touchscreen tablet device with a slate form factor, a 7-inch or greater screen size and a data connection, but no voice plan. Single-purpose ebook reader devices are excluded from this definition, comScore said.

For more:
- see this comScore post
- see this PC Magazine article

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