The devices that power our digital lives have undergone disruptive changes over the past several years. Smartphones have evolved from text-based communication tools to multimedia hubs. Ereaders and tablets have grown from cool ideas to transformative technologies. Televisions, game consoles and media players have gained internet connectivity, and with it, access to new worlds of digital content.
“As these device categories evolve and new ones come into being, consumers will continue to expect digital content to be available on all screens, at all times, in all locations,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “Smart Devices: Evolution and Convergence.”
In the US over the next two years, eMarketer expects more than 26 million mobile phone users to turn to smartphones, helping put the devices in the hands of more than half of all US mobile users by 2014.
Tablet penetration will increase even more quickly in the US, from a user base of nearly 55 million by the end of 2012 to almost 90 million in the next two years. By 2014, more than one in three US internet users will have a tablet device.
Ereaders, connected game consoles, internet-enabled TVs and other connected gadgets have also become essential to a society that demands instant and constant access to digital media. And that digital media is the technologies' raison d’être.
“Without movies, TV shows, games, photos, books, magazines, newspapers, video clips and music, few would care to own a tablet, a touchscreen smartphone, a connected console or an internet-enabled TV,” said Verna. “As consumers continue to gravitate toward digital media consumption, and as content owners and device manufacturers continue to find ways to meet the demand for it, more content will become available in the digital domain.”