Monday, July 23, 2012

Is "Wi-Fi-Only" Really a Tablet Shortcoming?

For some observers, a tablet that supports only Wi-Fi connections is defective. Maybe not. At least so far, the overwhelming percentage of tablet usage occurs at home, with the balance of usage at public hot spots or at work. 

If 88 percent of tablet use occurs in a living room, where Wi-Fi is assumed to be present, there are only 12 percent of other locations where a tablet might conceivably be used, and one might argue that a smart phone will suffice for most of those use cases.

Some 24 percent of tablet users say they likewise use tablets at work, where Wi-Fi reasonably also can be presumed to be available.

The point is that the hope mobile service providers have of more consumers adopting mobile broadband for their tablets remains largely an expectation.

Of course, some will argue that the current usage pattern is shaped by the fact that most people have purchased devices without native mobile network support. What people cannot do, they do not do. 

But that seems to ignore the more obvious conclusion, which is that tablets get used mostly in situations where Wi-Fi is available. In that case, lack of direct mobile connectivity is not such a big problem. For users who normally carry a smart phone with personal hotspot service, there is virtually no problem at all. 


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