With smaller sized tables now gaining in popularity, and with Apple about to join the action, vendors are starting to see increased uptake of these devices amongst children. Guy Daniels reports.
US consumer and retail research firm, the NPD Group, has reported that tablet usage amongst children is on the increase. Whilst portable and console video game systems continue to have the highest usage levels among kids aged 4-14 in the US, tablets saw the highest increase in usage at 13 per cent in 2012 against only 3 per cent in 2011.
Interestingly, usage of more sophisticated devices such as PCs and video game systems tend to increase as children get older, but tablet usage is highest among younger children. Russ Crupnick, SVP industry analysis at the NPD Group, explains that:
“Kids are using tablets to game, watch movies and TV shows, read books and listen to music – even occasionally for taking pictures – so they have embraced the utility of these devices quite rapidly. Older kids also use the tablets for social media and communication, which squarely places these devices at the centre for discovery and evangelism of new services and applications, as well as for brands and entertainment of all sorts.”
The study was based on 3,235 completed surveys of adults who have children aged 4 to 14 in the household, and was conducted in March this year. It also found that US households with children aged 4-14 own an average of 10 different devices, with kids using an average of five of those devices. TVs, PCs and mobile phones have the highest household ownership, while personal digital media players, such as iPods, saw the largest drop in household ownership.
Portable video game systems are the most popular devices personally owned by kids ages 4-14, with six years of age being the average age of adoption.
Crupnick adds that parents tend to be influenced in their purchase decisions by brand reputation, low price, safety aspect and educational value, whereas children are more focused on aesthetics, popularity and entertainment value.
With Google having already entered the market with a 7” tablet, is it no wonder that Apple is reportedly going to release a smaller version of its 10” iPad tablet? It might be dubbed the iPad Mini to us, but to young kids with their small hands it would be proportionally the same size and feel. Imagine how more child-friendly a lighter, smaller iPad would be? No need to prop it up on a stand or a cushion, just let them use it as they would a book.
According to the Tab Times website, a separate market research study by US coupon firm CouponCodes4u reveals that whilst most consumers would rather own the upcoming iPhone 5 than the rumoured iPad Mini, they think that the tablet could become a big hit with children. Although 78 per cent of surveyed US consumers would choose the iPhone 5 over the iPad Mini, 21 per cent of respondents would consider buying an iPad Mini for their children.
Photos of alleged parts for the so-called iPad Mini, plus fan-made mock-ups, have already started to appear on the web. The 9to5 Mac site says the iPad Mini will look like a large iPod Touch with smaller side bezels than its bigger tablet parent. It will also probably be ridiculously thin.
Removing the size bezels means more space given over to the screen, reducing the overall dimensions and making it just about small enough to put into (admittedly big) pockets. It would also make it more compatible with the Kindle and Nexus 7 form factors.
Of course, whether or not these rumours and speculation come true, we’ll just have to wait and see. But one device that had appeared is from Apple’s current nemesis, Samsung. It released its Galaxy Note 10.1 yesterday, which has more in common with its smaller 5” Note phone-tablet hybrid.
It comes complete with a stylus (or “S Pen”, as Samsung has branded it) to complement touch input. It also has a multiscreen capability, the effect of which is rather like having two Android smartphones glued together side-by-side. All of this is to emphasise that this tablet is about content creation, rather than just consumption. Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said:
“Our goal was simple – redefine the tablet experience. For the user, the resulting experience is completely new and quite unexpected.”
please sign in to rate this article