Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Down Time

Homes in the U.S. now have nearly half a billion devices connected to the Internet.  According to research by The NPD Group, nearly 4 out of 10 consumers who used to use PCs to access content have switched to tablets and smartphones instead.

Reading and sending email migrated to mobile devices many years ago, but today Internet browsing is the number one activity to have migrated to mobile platforms and reading books and magazines and I suspect newspapers is tied for third.

So when your Internet connection acts up as mine did for four days last week, I easily switched to my phone and tablet by turning off Wi-Fi but I was unable to research and write daily essays which I still find practical only on a PC.

I used the down time last week to catch up on my reading, which I now do primarily on tablet and smartphone anyway.  With access across to the same book over several very portable platforms, I find myself reading far more than the four books read each year by the average American.

As it is for 40% of tablet users and 56% of smartphone users, that is also how I access and listen to music including my personal collection of nearly 4,000 tracks dating back to but not including the hundreds of compact cassette tapes in my closet.

According to NPD research, two-thirds of U.S. consumers listen to music in their vehicle (which for me can also access services such as Pandora or my personal music library,) while about half listen on their PC and a quarter through their TV.

Unlike my Kindle which I left behind a few years ago when the app made it possible to read on my tablet or smartphone, research shows that having more connected devices results in greater use across platforms.

This isn’t going away, but apparently, I’m still pretty rare for my age cohort.  That will change.

However, it isn’t at all clear if a majority of members of the U.S. Congress or the General Assembly in North Carolina, where I live, have a handle on the importance of infrastructure overall let alone Internet infrastructure, in part because they read so little.

Maybe they need a little down time to catch up on their reading!

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