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Almost half of tablet computer owners consider themselves “early adopters,” according to [pdf] data from The Nielsen Company.

Tablets Have Low Penetration
Findings from “The Increasingly Connected Consumer: Connected Devices” indicate that tablet computers have only penetrated 4% of US households. In contrast, smartphones, the connected device with the highest penetration rate, can be found in 25% of US households.

Other popular connected devices include portable game players (21%) and portable media players (16%). Netbooks (8%) and ebook readers (6%) have penetration rates not much higher than that of tablet computers.

Techies Go For Tablets Despite Low Penetration
Although only a small percentage of US households have a tablet computer, almost half of tablet owners (48%) consider themselves early adopters. Other connected devices with a substantial percentage of owners identifying themselves as early adopters include portable game players (37%), as well as ebook readers and portable media players (35% each).

Interestingly, while smartphones are the connected device with the highest household penetration rate, they have the lowest rate of early adopter ownership (26%).

Average Tablet User Owns 6 Connected Devices
Reflecting tablet computers’ relative popularity with early adopters, the average tablet user owns a total of six connected devices. In comparison, the average owners of ebooks, portable game players and portable media players own five connected devices, and the average notebook user owns four connected devices.

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Tablet Owners Share
A relatively high 46% of tablet computer owners share their device. This puts them behind the sharing rates of portable game player owners (62%) and media player owners (55%). However, tablet owners are better at sharing than owners of netbooks (44%), smartphones (34%) or ebook readers (33%).

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iPad Owners Spend More Time with Content than iPhone Owners
iPad owners spend more time on average per week with a wide variety of content than iPhone owners. For example, the highest percentage of iPad owners (34%) spends one to two hours per week watching movies on their device, compared to 40% of iPhone owners spending 15?minutes or less per week watching movies.

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This disparity also holds true for books (32% of iPad owners spend 16-30 minutes per week, 40% of iPhone owners spend less than 15 minutes), magazines (33% of iPad owners spend 31-60 minutes, 49% of iPhone owners spend less than 15 minutes), and news (44% of iPad owners and 78% of iPhone owners spend less than 15 minutes).

Although iPhone owners have a slightly higher percentage of peak weekly TV viewing at 16-30 minutes (35% compared to 31%), a larger total percentage of iPad owners spend more than 15 minutes per week viewing TV (80% compared to 71%).

iPhone owners have a slightly higher total percentage of spending more than 15 minutes per week with music (72%) than iPad owners (69%).

iPad Owners Skew Younger, Male
iPad owners skew younger and more male than owners of many other portable computing devices, according to other Nielsen research. Sixty-five percent of them are male and 63% of them are younger than the age of 35.

In terms of likelihood to be male, the only device researched by Nielsen that even approaches the iPad is the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), with 62% male ownership. In terms of age, iPad owners skew slightly older than iPod Touch owners (66% younger than 35) and PSP owners (68% younger than 35).

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