BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins recently gained a fair amount of press over his comment in regard to tablets at the Milken Institute Conference in Los Angeles: “In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore. Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.” Many critics and commentators appear to be regarding his statement as a stance of BlackBerry’s positioning in the tablet market; however, whether it is the company’s stance or not, such a bold statement is bound to get a lot of PR coverage, which it did. But did he speak too soon?
According to the Media Behavior Institute’s USA TouchPoints, 17 percent of adults 18 to 64 accessed the Internet via tablets from July 2012 through January 2013. This is a 31 percent increase from the previous six months, while smartphones increased only 24 percent, and computers actually decreased by six percent. This speaks to the accelerated adoption and traction of tablets, given the industry only exploded after Apple’s iPad launch a mere three years ago. However, tablets aren’t just expanding in number. You often hear about smartphone and tablet usage being heavily driven by email and social networking; however, wider adoption and ever-developing consumer experience maturity levels with these devices has led to them being used for a variety of consumer and business needs.
With tablet adoption on the rise, there is no doubt that tablets are not only helping create a new digital experience, but a new consumer experience as well. Long gone are the days where point-and-click technology is the only way consumers interact with brands online. For example, mobile commerce is estimated to reach nearly $39 billion in 2013, up 56.5 percent over 2012, according to eMarketer. Additionally, in a survey by Decision Fuel and On Device Research in November 2012, 67 percent of mobile Internet users in the U.S. who were surveyed claimed that they only or mostly used mobile, rather than desktop, for accessing and browsing the Internet. With this increase in multi-device usage and decrease in reliance on desktops, it is important to recognize the way a user will interact with your brand across all devices.
While a cross-device approach can create the optimal experience a consumer can have with your brand at every interaction, it is important to keep a few things top-of-mind:
Well, as you can tell, I do think tablets will be here in five years. They may not serve the same purpose and meet the same user needs as they do now, but they do have the potential to serve current and future needs as technology continues to advance. Remember the first-generation iPod, or mobile phones from the ’90s? Understanding the process of how consumers interact across devices and what value you can bring them is essential to creating a seamless experience for your customers, and will ensure that you are one step ahead to be ready for the next big thing – because it is inevitable that there will be one. The question is, are you ready?
This article was originally published on ClickZ.