35% of tablet owners use device in the bathroom

A survey of tablet owners uncovers some interesting figures behind the demand for tablets and how the devies are used

The phenomenal sales of tablets like the iPad, and the feeding frenzy caused by the HP TouchPad fire sale indicate significant demand for tablets. A new survey from Staples Advantage takes a look at how and why people use tablets to try and understand what is driving the popularity of tablet devices.

The debate rages on regarding the potential of the tablet to replace a PC, but for many users the tablet augments -- rather than replaces -- the traditional PC. A tablet may not be able to compete with a PC in some areas, but for the majority of common tasks --checking email, surfing the Web, reading over documents -- the tablet holds its own and provides an added degree of portability, convenience, and simplicity that the PC can't match.

A statement from Staples Advantage announcing the survey results explains, "Tablets represent the latest device to bridge the worlds of both home and office, in part because of their convenience, ease of use and portability."

Staples Advantage -- the business to business division of Staples -- conducted a survey of 200 tablet owners . Survey participants representing companies or various sizes, and spanning different industries were asked about their perception of tablets, the possible business uses, and their impact on productivity.

The survey found that 80 percent of respondents enjoy better work/life balance as a result of using tablets. Some of the benefits cited include:

• Increased productivity -- Almost 60 percent of survey respondents say they get more work done using a tablet.

• Communication central -- More than 40 percent said staying connected with colleagues and clients was the primary motivator for buying a tablet.

• Easy to work -- About 75 percent of tablet users check email. One-third review and edit documents on their device.

In essence, the tablet gives people more flexibility to live life, spend time with family, and be on the go, while still having the ability to stay connected when necessary. More than 60 percent of tablet owners admit to using a tablet after hours or on vacation to check in with the office or get some work done. The pre-tablet alternatives were to either stay put next to the PC, or lug a notebook around just in case.

The "why" and "how" of tablets is not as surprising as the "where". Staples Advantage found that the number one motivation for owning a tablet is the convenience of its portability. The convenience and portability factors outweigh the ability to video conference on the go, or connect to the company network via VPN. Here are some of the places that survey respondents report taking advantage of the tablet's portability:

• In bed (78 percent)

• On vacation (62 percent)

• In the bathroom (35 percent)

• At restaurants (30 percent)

I think 200 is an exceptionally small sampling which may not be representative of the tablet ecosystem as a whole, but I am not a statistician. Regardless of the number of survey participants, the results are interesting.

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