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Survey: Tablets start to give PCs, TVs a headache

Slates may be starting to steal people away from their laptops, desktops, and even televisions, according to a survey released this week by Google's AdMob service.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Tablets may be starting to steal people away from their laptops, desktops, and even televisions, according to a survey released this week by Google's AdMob service.

The survey--administered by Google's mobile-centric advertising network, traffic-tracking service, and trend-spotting business--was conducted last month and had 1,430 respondents. It doesn't specify any particular brand of tablet device.

Among the survey's results, 77 percent of respondents said their PC use dropped after they got a tablet, and 43 percent said they spend more time with their slates than with desktops or laptops. As for television, one in three of those who replied said they lock eyes with their tablets more than with their TVs.

Additional findings:

• With tablets, "mobile device" seems to mean one that can be carried from the kitchen to the den to the bedroom; 82 percent of participants said they use their slates at home. Only 11 percent said they use them on the go, while the at-work category was chosen by just 7 percent. Also, people seem to be using their tablets more at night (62 percent) and during the week (69 percent). Well more than half of the participants--68 percent--said they spend at least an hour a day communing with their slates (38 percent said more than two hours).

• A tablet was the primary computer for 28 percent of survey participants.

• When asked to "select all the ways you use your tablet," 84 percent of respondents ticked the "playing games" option. That was followed by searching for information (78 percent), e-mailing (74 percent), reading news (61 percent), social-networking (56 percent), checking out music and videos (51 percent), e-booking (46 percent), and shopping online (42 percent). The "other" category was ticked by 19 percent of those who participated.

• In the "print is dead" department, 59 percent of respondents said they use their tablets more than they read conventional, paper-based books. And in the "tablets killed the radio star" category, 52 percent said they surf their slate more often than they turn their dial.

If the survey's results do indeed reflect larger trends, it's no wonder computer companies are falling over themselves to catch up with Apple's iPad. And it's no wonder cable-TV purveyors are working hard to expand their realm to include the gadgets.

For its part, AdMob parent Google is working on a tablet version of its Chrome browser. And of course, it's the creator of Honeycomb, a challenger to Apple's iOS operating system (which powers the iPad).