From The Guardian:
It is a battle of internet titans, but fought on a tiny scale: amid the wrapping paper and badly fitting jumpers, millions of people around Britain unwrapped a 7in tablet this Christmas. But will it be from Apple, Google or Amazon?
The answer could point to which company dominates the fastest-growing segment of computing, as they compete for attention, users and profits.
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In the runup to Christmas, many retailers sold out of iPad minis, while Google, Amazon and Barnes & Noble paid for hefty advertising campaigns, but nevertheless warned their devices were subject to availability, which may mean many have been disappointed in trying to get one.
“The specific reason why people are looking at 7in tablets rather than larger ones like the [9.7in] iPad is the size and price,” says Benedict Evans, telecoms and technology analyst at Enders Analysis. “They’re very appealing because they’re the size of a notebook, rather than a copy of Vogue. It makes the iPad seem like something basically a home or desk device because it’s bigger and heavier.”
Evans says another element in their success is price. Where the iPad, so far the most successful tablet, costs at least £329, the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire and Nook start at £159, while the iPad mini begins at £269.
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“This Christmas has been like a giant science experiment,” says Evans. “We’re finding out if people want big tablets or small tablets, if they want them cheap or expensive, whether they want them with big app stores or small ones, whether they want them to be storefronts or internet browsers.”
But the explosion in sales heralds a shift in how we use computers, Evans says. “We’re going from a time when 90% was done on a desktop or laptop computer and perhaps 10% on a mobile, to a time when it’s one-third desktop, one-third on a mobile and one-third on a tablet,” he says.
“It doesn’t particularly matter which sort of tablet – it moves you away from the paradigm where you had a computer that sat in a room and you turned on, to something that you have at the breakfast table, or that is carried in a handbag – that you use wherever you could be reading a print product.”
Link to the rest at The Guardian