Rising wave of mobile gadgets brings improved battery life, cameras
By Jay Keller
And, in an ever-changing market such as consumer electronics, innovation leads to newer and better concepts that create consumer demand across the board.
Navigating this space can be daunting for the customer, so each year Consumer Reports offers up a collection of new trends and buying advice for gadget upgrades based on subscriber feedback.
Of the eight trends identified by Consumer Reports in their annual survey published on Thursday, longer-lasting batteries on the newest generations of smartphones will likely hit home most with customers.
At least 240 million smartphones and tablets will be sold in the U.S. this year, according to an early-year forecast from the Consumer Electronics Association, with smartphones remaining as the primary revenue-driver for the industry while tablet computing will see double-digit growth.
The battle over the best gadget with a camera, or the best camera with gadget-like functionality, will also see increased innovation, according to the survey.
Consumer Reports also found that Apple still holds the edge on apps but no longer in design innovation.
Retailers curious about mobile device usage will also be interested to learn that Consumer Reports subscribers say e-mail is the top reason they power up a tablet or unlock a smartphone.
Consumer Reports asked subscribers (at least 7,000 smartphone and 5,500 tablet users) how they use a mobile device and what activities they perform each day.
Checking e-mail was the most-common activity among smartphone and tablet owners, with 73 percent saying they use their phones and 49 percent checking in on tablets.
Texting and checking the weather forecasts rounded out the top three activities by Smartphone users, according to the survey.
Outside of e-mail, most tablet users spread out their activities to include gaming, reading a book or magazine and checking the weather.
Very few people said they use tablets to send text messages while smartphone users say they rarely play games or read on their devices.