Multi-Screening It in the New Millenium

Back in the day (and I mean WAY back), most households limited their “screen” time to the traditional TV box. Around the time that Video Killed the Radio Star. Not so in the new Millenium. A recent study by Google reveals that our modern screen habits encompass a variety of screens, from smartphone, to tablet, to computer to television and daily consumption usually  involves all four. And this usage is not necessarily serial – for example, most TV watchers are also using their smartphone or tablet at the same time. Multi-screen, multi-task. Interestingly, the report shows that as the screen gets larger, the amount of time spent on average on that screen is greater, with smartphones averaging 17 minutes at a time and TVs averaging 43 minutes at a time. But smartphones tend to be where activity starts, if not ends – with many users starting a task on a smartphone and then finishing it on a larger-screen device. That task can be anything from searching, to shopping, to arranging travel, to social networking to watching a video.

Companies like Google will need to take heed of these trends – in order to capture the full attention of modern screen-gazers, online services will need to further integrate their services across these properties, encouraging seamless switching from mobile app to computer to television and back again. The easier it is to manage tasks across properties, the more likely users will stay within the ecosystem. It is fascinating, to say the least. What’s going to happen when we can also access the ‘net via Google Glass or other conduits? The mind boggles.

If you are interested in the full report, check out the Scribd embed below.

Digital Omnivores & How They Are Changing Consumption

Very interesting report from comScore, published this month, entitled Digital Omnivores: How Tablets, Smartphones and Connected Devices are Changing U.S. Digital Media Consumption Habits. If you hadn’t already figured out that mobile / tablet usage was driving the Internet, this report should fully inform of that fact. Digital omnivores is the term comScore uses to distinguish modern consumers of a vast variety of digital content across a number of different devices from traditional users who interact solely with their desktop or laptop computer. Contrary to the impression created by the title, the report discusses device usage in markets other than the U.S. Across the markets queried, web traffic from non-computer devices ranged from 5 to over 7%. Devices include mobile phones, tablets, gaming consoles and media players.

There are many interesting findings, and I encourage you to peruse the report. I found particularly interesting the fact that the iOS platform has the largest share of connected devices and smartphones in use in the U.S. and accounts for the largest share of Internet traffic in the U.S. Main uses include consuming news, communicating and engaging in real-time social networking. Mobile devices are being used to purchase goods and services, play games, listen to music, check the weather, and search the Internet.

I think the big message is for device manufacturers and content providers. The better these devices get, the more responsive and slick applications become, the more consumers will move from the traditional desktop / laptop experience to the mobile experience. Content providers will need to craft their presentation to meet the needs of many different devices and the casual, fairly constant engagement of consumers with those devices. Content will need to be fresh and easily accessible. This applies to content creation tools as well – the more familiar users become with these “unusual” interfaces, the more willing they will be to push the usage boundaries on these devices.

I regularly use desktops, laptops, Android & iOS based smartphones and tablets, and find I am very comfortable across all of these platforms. And I am by no means a digital native. It will be interesting to see how devices change to meet the changing usage patterns and user needs, particularly as the younger generation adapts and innovates. Digital omnivores? There is no question about it.

 

 

Government Docs on Kindle, For Free

Novel marriage of tech and exec – Amazon announced a few days ago (link here) that it would be adding the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget of the United States and the President’s Economic Report to Kindle as free, downloadable content. So, in under 60 seconds, you could be slogging your way through the “weighty” language written in e-ink.

All quips aside, this is precisely the type of e-reader use that gets me excited about the technology. While I don’t see myself giving up paper and ink for casual, fun reading, I am totally into the idea of shedding pages of documents, drafts, case books and reference guides for a slim 8″ by 10″ by 1/4″ tablet. Some readers already allow you to load PDFs and other types of docs for viewing. I an looking forward to the day that all of my professional reading can be done on an e-reader, although probably not a Kindle. I have my eyes on the upcoming tablets and more generalized content consumption devices.

For now, the government documents can be read and synced between the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhones and  iPod touches running the Kindle app, PCs and soon, Mac computers and BlackBerry smartphones.

Hat tip to beSpacific.