Digital Marketing

Will the Tablet PC Replace the Smart Phone?

By May 6, 2011 2 Comments

It remains to be seen if the tablet PC will replace the smartphone. However, its renaissance is certainly something that can’t be ignored. According to one research analyst, over 18 million units of tablet PCs were sold worldwide last year; and the sale of another 50 million units are projected for 2011.

I added to this number after purchasing my very own Android-based tablet last month…that is, after convincing my wife that there was a gap in my computing needs. Besides, a guy can’t ever have too many gadgets.

So, why would a person get a tablet PC anyway?

Portability and a mindshift in how we interact with others and with our electronic devices have made it possible for tablets to rise in popularity.

Portability – Today, we judge a mobile phone based on its computer-like specs rather than its phone-like functions. Despite our smartphones’ ability to do most of what laptops can do, the tiny screens and processors can only take us so far. Laptops are mobile, but we don’t want to carry them around all the time. So, a tablet is the best of both worlds-a hybrid of mobile and computing.

Mindshift – Social media websites have made us accustomed to short bursts of meaningful information. The need to stay up-to-date along with a desire for portability has caused us to look to mobile devices with their mobile apps. These mobile apps are designed to handle small chunks of functionality rather than full functionality available in desktop applications. Tablets, with their multitasking capabilities, are better suited than smartphones in handling task-based computing. For instance, as a graphic designer, I am not going to need my tablet to do heavy-duty work in Photoshop. I just need a photo-editing app to spruce up a cute picture I took of my daughter before uploading it using my Facebook app while I’m listening to my customized radio station on my Pandora app – all on my tablet.

What does this mean for a marketer in 2011 and beyond?

The list can go on and on.  Here are three to get it started:

  • More tablet PC sales mean more eyes can be exposed to a brand’s interactive and rich content online anytime, anywhere. So, keep customers engaged.
  • Don’t forget to look at web pages on different browsers and operating systems available on tablet PCs. More specifically, the user interface needs to work for touchscreens, not just for those with a mouse handy.
  • Relax. People are not going to completely abandon their desktop computers anytime soon. Use this phase of the tablet computing revolution to gear up for the future. For example, in addition to creating tablet-friendly websites, revamp online search campaigns and look into geo-targeted landing pages as more users opt-in to let their tablet devices track their locations.

Whether it’s just a keen interest in the latest technology or there’s a personal or business need for tablet PCs, they are here to change the way we do computing. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • David Williams says:

    After using an IPad for several weeks, I do not feel it has reduced my smart phone usage much because it does not fit into my pocket. However, it has reduced my laptop usage and greatly reduced my use of printed media.

  • Elmer Ragus says:


    Yes, the standard mobile phone form factor is a very hard feature for tablets to overcome. There aren’t many tablets that have phone capabilities, and most people are accustomed to tucking their electronics away in their pockets. I predict that the 7-inch tablet will win out over the 10-inch tablet, such as the iPad, as the dominant size since it’s more ideal for prolonged usage. It will be interesting to see where mobile computing will go if phone capabilities become more common in tablets.


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