More bad news for the PC market. New research from NPD Group shows consumers are getting used to doing the same things on tablets that they typically do on desktop PCs. Some 30% of tablet owners say they're emailing and browsing the Web less on desktop computers, and 28% are using social networking features less on PCs.
Further, people say they're happy with the switch. More than two-thirds are very satisfied with Internet browsing and email on tablets; 60% are satisfied with social networking on the devices. Those are also the three tasks tablet owners rated as the most important.
NPD also looked at consumer attitudes to smartphones compared to PCs and tablets. For smartphone users, email is the main service they've shifted to handling on phones rather than computers, with 35% doing so. But they weren't as happy adapting to other activities on their handsets. So while 59% of smartphone owners are very satisfied with e-mail, only 49% are with social networking, and 42% with Internet use.
The NPD findings come on the heels of an IDC report that smartphones outsold PCs for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2010 -- 100.9 million to 92.1 million respectively. IDC forecasts that worldwide tablet shipments of 17 million will nearly triple to 44 million this year and hit 70 million in 2012. The firm also expects that shipments of smartphones and tablets combined in 2012 will reach 462 million, surpassing the 448 million expected for PCs.
"PC makers must have a tablet to complement their existing PC lines and encourage usage between the two devices so that consumers don't abandon one for the other," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at The NPD Group. He added that it's important for manufacturers to educate users about the capabilities of tablets and how they can be in used in relation to other devices they already own.
Tablets were the center of attention of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, with new additions like LG's Optimus Pad, running Honeycomb, the latest version of Google's Android platform. HTC took the wraps off its first tablet, the Flyer, while HP rolled out the TouchPad, and Samsung debuted its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab, among other new tablets.