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On mobile devices, the battle between native and web apps is still going strong. Native is clearly winning if you look at the numbers, but that doesn't mean that many aren't betting big on the web.
Not surprisingly, the battle between native apps and the web has extended to the tablet market, even though tablets are far more capable web browsing devices than their mobile phone counterparts.
Whether you're male or female, there's an almost equal chance that you own a smartphone. But what about tablets and e-readers? Do men and women share different preferences when it comes to the latest and greatest mobile devices?
According to Nielsen's latest survey of mobile device owners, the answer is increasingly 'yes.' In Q2 2011, it found that 61% of e-readers were owned by women, up from 46% in the third quarter of 2010. Tablets? Almost the opposite: 57% of them are owned by men.
As publishers and new media companies try to tap into the potential offered by the iPad, many have decided that offering richer, multimedia-laden experiences is the way to go.
Take Push Pop Press, for instance. Its vision for tablet publications: turn them into interactive applications. Its centerpiece, Al Gore's Our Choice interactive e-book, was heralded as "one of the most...impressive apps you've ever seen."
When Apple announced the iPad, many executives in the publishing industry voiced high hopes for the tablet device. "This could be the technology that helps us capitalize on digital," they effectively said in one way or another.
Of course, today we know that the iPad isn't a panacea for traditional publishers. That, of course, doesn't mean that tablet devices aren't important to them, or that they should abandon all hope.
But how much hope is too much hope?
Since Apple unveiled the iPad to the world, tablet devices have attracted an immense spotlight. To some, they represent the future of computing, publishing, advertising and, well, life as we know it.
But is the smoke from the tablet market obscuring even bigger fires elsewhere? According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, e-reader ownership is growing much, much faster than tablet ownership.
When it comes to tablets, traditional publishers have a dilemma: the numbers make it clear that the money is currently in native apps, but for publishers struggling to survive, giving up 30% of revenue to Apple, along with valuable subscriber data, is a tough pill to swallow.
So many publishers are trying to have their cake and eat it too. How? By building web apps that look and feel like native apps.
Despite the hype, tablets are still most accurately described as a 'niche' market. But that market is expected to grow really, really fast.
That's according to a study (PDF) conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and Frank N. Magid Associates, which sees 54m Americans owning or using tablets by early 2012, up from 28m today.
Even if tablet computers, namely the iPad, aren't killing desktops, notebooks and kittens, many in the tech and marketing industries express the sentiment that the tablet is going to be the source of fundamental change in many markets.
So where does that leave Google's Chromebook, which the search giant unveiled to the world yesterday?
Thanks to Apple, we know that there's a market for tablet computing devices. But what we still don't know is how the growth of tablet devices will impact the usage of other computing devices.
Some, not surprisingly, believe that the tablet is a killer. A popular meme on this front: the iPad is killing netbooks. But is that really the case?
The market for tablet devices, which basically didn't exist at this time last year, is now a major focus for just about every large computer and mobile manufacturer.
Yet despite this, one company is reaping almost all of the rewards: Apple.
Many print publishers hoped that the iPad would do more for them than it has done thus far, but that doesn't mean that the iPad, and tablet computing in general, doesn't have potential.
The challenge: figuring out a strategy that works. Trying to charge more for your newspaper on the iPad than it costs in print doesn't seem all that sensible, and creating tablet-only dailies doesn't exactly come off as a smart investment given the economics of the publishing business today.
However, Condé Nast might have stumbled upon a concept that might be a viable part of a larger strategy: take old, existing content, repurpose it and sell it as a new product.
Most traditional publishing executives have bought into the idea that digital is crucial to the success of their publications in the 21st century. But despite the fact that most of them are increasingly embracing and investing in digital, few are seeing the kind of results that would indicate good times are back again.
A new survey of 476 publishing industry professionals and 1,800 consumers conducted by Harrison Group sponsored by Zinio might just hint at why: publishers are simply blind to what consumers really want.