Cutting Edge Technologies Supplementing, Rather than Displacing, Older Tech

Tablets Owners in Particular Show Stronger Ownership/Usage for Just About Every Type of Tech

The technological world moves incredibly fast, with cutting edge trends sometimes getting pushed to the edge of the information and entertainment superhighway almost before the digital ink of their announcements has dried. Netbooks, for example, seemed to be the next big thing for a short time until falling victim to their own limited capabilities. E-readers have faced speculation that they may follow a similar trend, though the jury is still out on this category, with 17 percent of U.S. adults owning one.

In fact, adopters of new technology appear reluctant to let go of the old technology their new devices threaten to replace.

These are some of the findings of a recent online survey of 2,345 adults conducted by Harris Interactive as part of a quarterly "Tech Tracker" intended to act as a barometer of technology ownership and interactions among U.S. adults.

Smartphones' Impending Replacement of Digital Cameras in Question
Ownership of both Android powered smartphones (26 percent) and iPhones (22 percent) has risen considerably since May of last year (18 and 17 percent, respectively); Android ownership is also up slightly since January (23 percent), while iPhone ownership is comparable to its January level (21 percent).

There's been much talk about whether smartphones are reaching a point where they can replace stand-alone digital cameras, and reports of diminishing digital camera sales would appear to support this. However, while these sales drops may or may not be attributable directly to smartphones, smartphone owners are at least as likely as the national average to currently own a point-and-shoot type digital camera (58 percent, vs. 56 percent of U.S. adults) and are nearly 30 percent more likely than the national average to own a digital SLR camera (22 percent vs. 17 percent of U.S. adults).

Most Streaming Viewers Still Swimming with Traditional TV Providers
Another area where new tech appears to be acting more as an addition to the status quo than a replacement to it is streaming viewership. Although those Americans subscribing to one or more streaming services (24 percent Netflix, 11 percent Amazon Prime, 5 percent Hulu Plus) are a bit less likely than the general population to subscribe to either a cable or satellite service (75 percent among U.S. adults, 70 percent among streaming subscribers), seven in ten are still embracing the traditional TV.

Tablet owners—The Ultimate Tech Consumers?
Although much has been written about the versatility of tablets and the many technologies they may eventually replace, for now tablet owners seem reluctant to let go of, well, pretty much anything with a battery and a microchip. In fact, tablet owners are more likely than non-owners to also own all kinds of technological goodies, including devices that tablets are said to be in danger of replacing, such as laptops and e-readers:

  • TV any kind – 82% tablet owners, 74% non-owners
  • HDTV – 71% tablet owners, 55% non-owners
  • Standalone DVD or Blu-ray player – 62% tablet owners, 51% non-owners
  • Digital video recorder or DVR (TiVo, etc.) – 42% tablet owners, 27% non-owners
  • Set-top streaming media box (Roku, Apple TV, etc.) – 13% tablet owners, 3% non-owners
  • Mobile phone of any kind – 91% tablet owners, 74% non-owners
  • Home video game console – 55% tablet owners, 33% non-owners
  • Smartphone – 70% tablet owners, 39% non-owners
  • Laptop computer – 78% tablet owners, 60% non-owners
  • Digital camera of any kind – 75% tablet owners, 59% non-owners
  • E-reader – 23% tablet owners, 14% non-owners
  • Handheld video game console – 23% tablet owners, 11% non-owners
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the entertainment possibilities tablets open up, tablet owners are also significantly more likely to subscribe to streaming services—nearly 80 percent more likely than non-owners to subscribe to Netflix's steaming service (34 percent tablet owners, 19 percent non-owners), over 40 percent more likely to subscribe to Hulu Plus (7 percent tablet owners, 4 percent non-owners) and over 250 percent more likely to subscribe to Amazon Prime (22 percent tablet owners, 6 percent non-owners). But even so, they are also more likely than non-owners to subscribe to either cable or satellite TV services (80 percent tablet owners, 73 percent non-owners).