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Mentioned Companies: AAPL, BBRY, GOOG, MSFT

Quick Fire: The Spread of Smartphones and Tablets

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by Tasha Keeney, CFA, Analyst September 10, 2014
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In 2007 Apple [AAPL] sold over one million iPhones in the first full quarter of its availability. Today over two-thirds of the United States population owns a smartphone. While it took the cordless phone over twenty-five years to go from 10% to 40% saturation in the U.S., as shown below it took smartphones and tablets only three! [1][2][3]

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In the chart below, televisions, smartphones, and tablets stand out as the most rapidly adopted platforms in the US. Television adoption was twice as fast as any other device. By 1960, more American homes owned televisions than telephones. TV was a key news source for households, much like smartphones and tablets are for individuals today.

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Today television is more a source of entertainment than news. Consequently, as the pie chart below illustrates, time spent on mobile devices currently outpaces television and PCs in the United States.

smartphones, tablets, adoption of technology, mobile technology, technology, television, tv, radio, internet, ARK, ARK investment management, investment, investment managment, investing, new york, adoption of smartphones and tablets, apple, iphone, ipad[4]

Smartphones and tablets have replaced PCs and TVs as primary sources of information. Today, phones are indispensable companions delivering news, alerts, emails, texts, and enabling calls and other forms of interaction. Mobile devices are so intertwined in daily life that on average people in the US are engaging with them more than 20% of their waking hours. [5]

Industry players must keep pace with the rapid change in mobile technology. As developers have defected to more innovative platforms like Apple [AAPL] and Google [GOOG], companies like Blackberry [BBRY] and Nokia [MSFT] have imploded. To maintain or increase their share, Apple and Google must not become complacent, and they are not. Will the Apple Watch be the next category killer, and is Google’s autonomous car the ultimate mobile device?