What percentage of consumers actually want or already own a tablet?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| June 8, 2011

It is common knowledge that tablets are still luxury items. They attempt to bridge the gap between PCs or laptops and the much smaller smartphone. The problem is, they lean more towards the smartphone side of the fence, sacrificing the extra functionality to the portability of a mobile OS.

More often than not when I write about tablets, people who find them pointless or a waste of time sound off in the comments. People are constantly questioning why someone would or should buy a tablet over a netbook or laptop. Or they are simply shooting down the tech, naming it the latest fad. It's pretty obvious, however, that tablets are more than just a fad. They are the next generation of mobile computing in its infancy.

Since there haven't been a lot of public studies – not to my knowledge at least – about modern tablets, it's hard to judge just how many people feel they are useless devices. Based solely on the comments I've seen here at PhoneDog and several other tech sites, I would be inclined to think the number of people who want a tablet versus those who don't may be close to evenly split.

According to a report over at BGR earlier this morning, I am way off. A recent survey held by Kelton Research (commissioned by Samsung) states that 90 percent of U.S. consumers either already own or want a tablet. That means only 10 percent of consumers have no interest in the tablet market at all. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time believing the "tablet fever" (as BGR has dubbed it) is that strong. If, in fact, this is the case, the future for the blown-up smartphones is undoubtedly bright and PC manufacturers better be preparing for a storm.

The survey also shed some light on the most common use cases from current tablet owners and prospective buyers. Over three fourths (76 percent) of consumers would use their tablet for reading the news or books, 64 percent would use a tablet for watching TV shows or movies, 61 percent find tablets useful for listening to music, and just over half (56 percent) would use their tab for updating their social networking profiles. Some other interesting facts mentioned in the press release from Kelton state:

"More than half (53%) of survey respondents would choose to use their mobile tablet to play games instead of on a PC or standalone video game console. In addition, the survey showed Americans would use a tablet to take pictures or film videos (44%), video chat with loved ones (41%) or stay connected with their co-workers (34%)."

Entertainment and staying in touch are obviously still the primary uses of tablets and it is likely that it will stay that way for some time. That said, they are great companions for school and even work at times.  Picking one up and using it is just as easy as putting it back down ... some times. Being so versatile, portable, fun to use and easily accessible make tablets a hot ticket item.

Tablets are becoming increasingly popular, especially as more models come to market and the average price drops. Functionality is expanding with every update and tablets are becoming a much more viable option for all users alike.

Is it enough to grab the attention of 90 percent of Americans? I have my doubts; 90 percent seems a bit high. That is why I've included the poll below. I want to know how many of you pups either own or want a tablet. And let us know in the comments how you use (or would use) yours.