Some 4% of American adults own a tablet computer such as an iPad, a study from Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found, citing data it gathered in September 2010. It is a remarkable statistic in that the iPad - arguably this tablet computing generation’s market maker - has only been available for less than a year. Still, though, is that number enough to push developers and markets to rejigger mobile plans to focus on the tablet? Apparently the answer is yes.
Tablet commerce or T-commerce as Forrester has begun calling it - is expected to drive at least half of all mobile commerce, the analyst group said. It makes sense: studying an item, selecting it and paying for it can be cumbersome on a smartphone. Recognizing the opportunity, developers are tripling their app production to make sure tablets are in the mix, according to a new joint report from IDC and Appcelerator.
Taken January 10-12, the Appcelerator-IDC Q1 2011 Mobile Developer Report and survey shows that Google has nearly caught up to Apple in smart phone popularity and is closing the gap in tablets. Also, Microsoft and RIM made solid gains through their product line update. As a result the average developer is now building for four different devices.
They are also changing the focus of the apps, moving away from the free brand affinity that marked apps in 2009 and 2010. Instead - thanks to the integration of geo-location, social and could-connectivity services - developers are playing to consumers’ expectation for mobile entertainment and service. They are becoming less reliant on $0.99 app sales and more focused on such models as in-app purchasing and advertising.
Analytics are Still Key
Not all retailers, though, should necessarily embrace all platforms at once if its customer base is showing a preference for one device or platform. While that may seem unlikely - the tight race for market dominance between Android and Apple is well chronicled - Internet Retailer tells of one company, which didn’t want to be named, that found a whooping 82.8% of its mobile commerce traffice coming from Apple’s iOS. Another 3.2% came from the Motorola Droid and 1.8% came from Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Tour 9630 device.