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Only five percent of tablets use mobile internet

business Updated: Jul 12, 2013 15:12 IST

New research shows what most consumers already seem to know, that tablets are used around the home and connect to the internet via wi-fi -- they're not mobile devices.

In his report on the mobile telecoms industry, analyst Craig Moffett of Moffett Research shows how in the US market at least, a mere 20 percent of tablets sold are specified with either 3G or 4GLTE mobile internet connectivity. And, of that number only 50 percent are connected to a network via a data plan. Moffett also estimates that half of those data contracts are subsequently discontinued, meaning that only 5 percent of tablets in use in the US are being used as mobile devices in the same way like smartphones.

It also means that 95 percent of tablets are being used as replacements or as additional support for desktop computers and televisions.

The latest data on tablet app use shows that their usage peaks in the evening while the same data relating to smartphones reveals that app usage is continuous throughout the day with peaks during early morning and early evening -- i.e., during the daily commute.

For example the latest Flurry Analytics survey, published in June shows that when it comes to smartphone apps, users are always plugged in, from 5am through to 4am the next day.

While in February, a report by NPD Group found that more than a third of US consumers had abandoned desktops and notebooks in favor of smartphones and tablets for surfing the web, using social media and playing games. Among tablet owners, 27 percent said that they were using their computer less and less, particularly for browsing, and 20 percent said that they were using a PC less often for accessing Facebook.

Moffett's findings, which were part of a much larger report and which were brought to light by All Things D journalist Peter Kafka, might also explain the growing popularity of phablet devices -- which are essentially smartphones but offer a larger screen for consuming rich media content such as movies and gaming.