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Wi-Fi Tablets Dominating Category

12/19/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

NEW YORK — Demand is
driving tablet sales through
the roof, but cellular adoption
is not panning out as
originally planned, according
to The NPD Group.

NPD’s recent Connected
Intelligence report
found Wi-Fi-only equipped
tablets have grown to 68
percent of the installed
base, up from just more
than 61 percent during the
spring of 2011. This growth
has come at the expense
of the cellular connectivity,
said Eddie Hold, VP of Connected Intelligence.

The study showed models that sported both cellular and
Wi-Fi connectivity fell to 23 percent, from 27 percent in the
spring. Tablets only capable of connecting through a cell
connection suffered, less dropping a point to 4 percent.
Tablets offering no wireless technology declined to 5 percent
of the market, down from 8 percent earlier this year.

Hold cited consumer concern over cellular data pricing
plans as one key for its lack of acceptance, but he noted
that the ready availability of public Wi-Fi connections has
made the cellular option redundant and unnecessary. The
other factor is many people now own a smartphone and
use it for the web needs, he added.

This situation is unlikely to change as many of the
newer tablets coming onto the market, like Amazon’s
Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet, do
have a cellular option.

By comparison, the Connected Intelligence data report
showed little change in the adoption rate of Wi-Fi and
cellular connections when it comes to laptops between
spring and late 2011.