This is the week that all good boys and girls in the tech-toy world have been waiting for: the International CES in Las Vegas. It is here where the announcements of the next big greatest game-changing “toys de la tech” appear for all to drool over. Unlike some past events, there is a groundswell of behavior change that can be further fueled by some well-priced, smartly created products.
The groundswell I speak of is the continued growth of social media and its enabler, the mobile device.
The mobile device used to be just a smart phone, but now it may well include tablets. These glowing keyboardless notebook-like computers will be the darlings of this year’s CES. Since you’ll hear enough about them elsewhere, here’s how the tablet explosion will affect you: If you don’t get that sorry web site of yours mobile friendly, your competitor will. While you’re at it, be social where your customers are (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and produce lots of easily readable content for tablets and mobile devices. Even better, make it interactive and cool but not annoying to use.
Most numbers show that more than half of all U.S. mobile users will AT LEAST be using smart web-enabled phones by New Year’s 2012. Today, Forrester Research revised its June predictions for tablet sales upward to 24.1 million units for 2011 – double that of last year.
According to the report, “Of those sales, the lion’s share will be iPads, and despite many would-be competitors that will be released at CES, we see Apple commanding the vast majority of the tablet market through 2012.”
A major assumption that they call out is the accelerated replacement rate of these “lifestyle devices.” Even though these have a great amount of productivity power, they believe the replacement rate will be closer to that of a MP3 player or an iPhone rather than that of PCs – and that means more purchasing.
The magic behind the curtain right now is the Android operating system based tablets. Many will be unveiled at CES this week and if they can deliver features, functions and benefits better than the iPad, then they may erode Apple’s market share in the same way Android phones are eating at the iPhone’s early lead. And speaking of delivering, when will they be available and how long can they hold they hype?
Either way, the Forrester report says that “By 2015, 82 million US consumers — one-third of US online consumers — will be using a tablet, and not all of them will be iPads.” I think that could be conservative depending on how significant Android tablet pricing pressures Apple in 2012.
Can these tablets do everything? Let me put it into perspective. I was at a sound check during pregame activities for the AHL Manchester Monarchs hockey team. Part of the Los Angeles Kings’ organization—the audio engineer—walked around the 10,000+ seat venue, setting the house sound and microphone mix levels for a performing group – on his iPad. Back in the old days, it took several people to do what he did quickly – and the mix was outstanding.
For the rest of us, the author of this report, Sarah Rotman Epps, bottom-lined the “tabletation” of computing nicely in an earlier report: “To sell this device to more than just Apple acolytes, Apple will need to teach consumers not just a new way of using this particular device, but an entirely new way of computing,” referring to “cloud computing” where your applications and content live mainly on the web.
We’re catching on quickly. Meanwhile, take two tablets and Tweet me in the morning.