Nov. 2, 2011 at 1:03 PM ET
One in every 10 American adults now has an iPad or something like it, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. But what's more interesting is that in the time period between May 2011 and now, e-reader ownership appears to have declined among adults. Twelve percent reported owning them in May, while only 9 percent say they own them now.
It's not something to pay too close attention to, says Pew researcher Kristen Purcell, who authored the report. "I suspect after the holidays, we're going to see this number back up," she told me. Sales of e-ink devices will no doubt pick up, given the new Nook and Kindle touchscreen models.
Still, tablets may be overtaking e-readers once and for all, in stark contrast to what was happening last May. Purcell acknowledges that in the next survey, Pew will clearly count devices such as the Nook Color and Kindle Fire as tablets. As such, the relative share of reading-dedicated devices may dwindle.
The study focused on smartphones, and how half of all adult cellphone owners now have apps on their phone.
While that's certainly significant, the very definition of apps causes problems with the study, as Pew itself acknowledges. "There continues to be some confusion among cellphone users regarding this new technology," says the report. "Especially when it comes to whether or not their phones came preloaded with apps." In fact, there are probably apps of some kind on more than half of the phones owned by U.S. adults.
More reliable is the percentage of U.S. cellphone-owning adults who report downloading an app to their phone. This has, predictably, risen — from 29 percent in May 2010 to 38 percent in August 2011. However, the percent of app downloaders who have paid for an app has remained statistically static at 46 percent. To me, this suggests the rise of Android, whose app market puts greater emphasis on free apps than does Apple's App Store.
More Pew study coverage in msnbc.com's Technolog: