April 13, 2012 at 6:57 PM ET
Six years ago, more than two-thirds of us had desktop computers and nearly two-thirds had cellphones. Today, 88 percent of Americans have cellphones and 55 percent desktop computers.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has been tracking our gadget gusto, and in a new report, "Digital differences," shows what Americans have been buying and gravitating to from 2006 to 2012.
Aside from the desktop computers' decline, MP3 players, such as the iPod, are well past their peak, as more of us put our music on our phones, especially the iPhone which is also an iPod.
Amazon's Kindle was the most commercially successful e-book reader out in 2009, when 2 percent of Americans said they had one, according to Pew. Now, 19 percent do, and 19 percent also say they have a tablet, like Apple's iPad, which came out in April 2010.
Currently, 88 percent of American adults age 18 and older have a cell phone, 57 percent have a laptop, 19 percent own an e-book reader, and 19 percent have a tablet computer; about six in ten adults (63 percent) go online wirelessly with one of those devices. Gadget ownership is generally correlated with age, education, and household income, although some devices—notably e-book readers and tablets — are as popular or even more popular with adults ages 30-49 than those under 30.
Pew did not include digital cameras in its list, but those, too, are being subsumed by cellphones and the better cameras being offered on them.
While 55 percent of American consumers "still consider a point-and-shoot camera as their primary photography device, the number who consider their smartphone to be their primary device for their photography needs has tripled in two years to 18 percent," said the Consumer Electronics Association in a recent report.