It’s amazing how launching a product at the right time can really change things. In 2000, Microsoft announced its PC tablet, but it didn’t have any success. Apple then launched the iPad in 2010, and it was an outright success. The competition picked up the idea, and since then the world of consumption technology has changed in many aspects. So much so that now, according to a Pew Research Center study on e-book consumption, 25% of the American population owns a tablet.

The study mostly focuses on e-book adoption, but the most interesting datum is that tablets have penetrated the American market to being one in four, and this doesn’t include traditional Kindle e-book readers with a black and white display. However, the study could have a bit of bias considering it only contains a 2,252 person sample. That being said, if you compare the figures with the same study from last year, the increase is enormous: from 10% in 2011 to 25% in 2012, especially for a product that hasn’t been around for even three years. Another interesting datum that the study provides is that, despite their high price, there are more tablets than there are e-readers.

If these adoption figures are compared with those of smartphones in the U.S., there is an ever wider gap in smartphone ownership, according to Nielsen. But consumers still have adopted tablets faster than smartphones, in comparison. Lastly, the proliferation of high quality products at very competitive prices, such as the Nexus 7, the Kindle Fire and the iPad Mini, and the fact that most tablets don’t carry a permanent data plan, make it so there is a greater percentage of tablets being purchased in troubled economic times than smartphones.

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