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Pew: One-third of American adults own a tablet

A new study by the Pew Research Center says 34 percent of American adults own a tablet device, up from 18 percent in 2012, reports Suzanne Choney of NBC News.

Apple's iPad debuted in April 2010 and only 3 percent of American adults owned a tablet in May 2010.

But since the iPad was released, other tech companies have launched tablets of their own, causing a boom in sales. While the iPad remains the best-selling device, Amazon has the Kindle and Samsung has the Galaxy Tab.

“Tablets — at least in the post-iPad era — have been the fastest growing consumer electronics category from launch in recent history,” Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, told NBC News. He said tablets “have higher penetration levels than any of the major home game consoles, but not quite as high as Blu-ray players yet.”

The study, conducted by Pew’s Internet & American Life Project, says, “Unlike smartphones, which are most popular with younger adults ages 18 to 34, we see the highest rates of tablet ownership among adults in their late thirties and early forties.”

Choney reports Pew also saw an increase in tablet ownership among parents. Last year, 26 percent of parents had tablets, but that number is up to 50 percent this year.

“The question of how parents are using these devices with their children is certainly a fascinating one,” Kathryn Zickuhr, a Pew research analyst, told NBC News.

“Even though parents are more likely to read e-books than adults without minor children at home, the vast majority — 81 percent — of parents say that it is important to them that their children read print books.”

In other areas, Pew reported an increase among tablet ownership among households making more than $75,000 a year. In 2012, that number was 34 percent. This year, it's 56 percent. The same goes for college graduates. Last year, 28 percent of degree-holders reported owning a tablet, but the number is up to 49 percent in 2013.

Pew says adults ages 65 and older are less inclined to own a tablet. Only 18 percent own one.

According to Choney, Pew's findings are based on interviews with 2,252 adults, ages 18 and older, conducted between April 17 and May 19.

Michael Smith is an intern in the news section of A 2013 graduate of the University of Utah, he will be attending Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in the fall.


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