Report: Tablets and smartphones used in bed

Developers take note: It’s not just about how consumers and business professionals use your apps. It’s also about where.

A recent report from the Nielsen Company takes a peek—well, into the bedroom, where a majority of users surveyed report using the devices on which mobile apps are accessed.

Of the 12,000 connected device owners surveyed, 57 percent of tablet owners and 51 percent of smartphone owners reported using their devices in bed. Meanwhile, 61 percent of dedicated e-reader respondents said they use those in bed—but that’s not nearly exciting since that just means they’re … reading in bed. (Booooring.)

The survey also asked about television—not about using smartphones, tablets and apps to help make viewing decisions or to wirelessly control DVRs or anything like that, but rather about using those devices while watching TV. Turns out 70 percent of tablet owners do, and 68 percent of smartphone owners do. That doesn’t bode well for the ability of TV programming to hold viewers’ attention, if you ask me. Oh, and users of e-readers? Only 35 percent use them while watching TV—representing either the portion of the population that is so skilled they can process various streams of information at once, or the easily distracted. Probably the latter.

Here’s my favorite part: Tablet owners said 30 percent of their time spent with their device was while watching TV, compared to 21 percent lying in bed. Smartphone owners say that 20 percent of the time they use their smartphones is while watching TV, compared to 11 percent lying in bed. Am I adding wrong, or does that mean tablet owners use their devices in bed or in front of the TV more than half the time? So much for business applications on the iPad, I guess—unless you are bedridden, or review TV shows for a living.

What does it mean for apps developers? It’s obvious: More bedroom-themed apps, and more apps that help take users minds off of the obviously not-so-entertaining TV they’re watching so they’ll pay more attention to your creations. I’m not going to even speculate what “bedroom-themed apps” might be, so I’ll just let your imaginations run wild and watch for the results.

I’ll also be watching for Neilsen’s report on how often people use their tablets and smartphones in the bathroom—but I’m guessing the e-reader market already has a lock on that one.



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