Drawing on the previous thoughts by my colleagues Niklas and Ron, we can prepare ourselves for the tablet taking over the world in, actually, quite a short time. Steve knew this all the time, but to me it seems like average Jane and Joe is coming to realize this only now. My second half has provoked a lot of people by asking why they have a tablet and what it is good for. The usual answer is that “it’s cool” or “I don’t need to carry paper anymore” or a simple “duh, moron”. If you implement the very usable rule of asking five times why to basically any answer you get, you’ll see that the average tablet owner is no longer amused by the original question. There’s not really any logical answer to the question why you own a tablet. The tablet takes as much space as any paper notebook. You cannot afford to drop it many times; the paper notebook can be used for various purposes such as to sit on or to throw at bad presenters. The mobile phone or laptop has more functions than the tablet, and you will many times carry those gadgets along with you anyways.
And then there’s the tablet. It’s there. And that’s just it, it’s there. We do not really need the tablet, we certainly did not wish for it (the trekkies might have another opinion as this was what Scotty used for beaming people). Fortunately, Steve thought otherwise and more or less forced the tablet upon us. And we embraced it to the degree that several reports indicate a rise in the percentage of tablets on the market. For instance, 25% of American adults own a tablet, and Adroid-based tablets are aggressively taking market shares from Apple (more info here). American women are heavy users of e-reading (e.g., using Kindle) and thereby, more or less also dictating the future of tablet usage. And then there are all the companies, watching this happen and still thinking whether or not the tablet is something that potentially can affect them in any way, and we’re talking about everything from the way their employees communicate to the essence of their own marketing and branding efforts.
Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the tablet. This gadget has the possibility to change behavior; how we search information, how we read news, how we stay connected, how we communicate, not to mention how we become more and more addicted to media. We’re always online, we’re always using media to stay up to date about both the big things as well as the very tiniest details about friends of friend’s friends. Now how will any company make use of this in their marketing? There was a time called pre-social media (read: we did every marketing campaign WITHOUT social media); today we read headlines in the like of “if you’re not on social media, you don’t exist”. This movement is still going on for the laggards, but those who are visible in social media still need to step it up a notch; just making people aware is not enough, there has to be engagement that leads to some sort of action. We strive at change!
The tablet becomes a tool for people to engage. And re-engage the lazy ones. We still need more information about how tablets, and also how smart phones, are being used and how we adopt our behavior according to the possibilities that new technology opens up. So instead of all eyes on the tablet per se (btw, iPad Mini was launched last week, you can even fit it in a purse), we should follow carefully how we as consumers, readers, social beings change our media habits. The tablet still has potential of being a radical innovation, as it will change the ways things are being done. The big question then becomes – is your firm ready for this change? And how are you going to deal with it – forerunner or laggard?
/Anna-Greta Nyström, EDGE-rookie