JAN. 25, 2012 • Apple Inc. announced that 15.4 million iPads had been sold during the Fourth Quarter of 2011. By comparison, 14.7 million HP PCs were sold during the same period (Gartner). According to Pew Internet, in North America, More than one in four individuals now own a tablet or e-book reader thanks to strong holiday sales. Between December and January, Pew says the number of North Americans owning a tablet or e-book reader jumped from 18% to 29%.
Impact: The hardware eco-system continues to get more complex. Looking at the number of units sold is only a small part of the story. What is becoming critical is to understand how these units are being used and promoted. Tablets like the iPad, as well as the new e-readers from Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Barnes and Noble (Nook Color) focus on games as a key selling point. However, the reality is 1) most of these games are free or very low cost and 2) the type of game is very much strategy-focused with an emphasis on traditional board and card game applications. In other words it is much like how Free Cell functioned for Windows. Games are an initial selling point but not the key raison d’ etre.