Half of U.S. adults now own a tablet or smartphone, Pew study finds

Research reveals rapidly shifting tablet market share patterns

The results of a new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism indicate that half of American adults have mobile Internet access via a tablet or smartphone, further highlighting the quickly changing nature of media consumption.

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What's more, the report found major shifts in the tablet market over the past year alone. While the iPad made up 81% of tablets owned in the U.S. in 2011, that number fell sharply to 52% in the more recent study. Counting the 21% of tablet owners with a Kindle Fire, Android-based devices now make up 48% of the market.

That market overall doubled in size over the past year as well, growing from 11% of Americans in 2011 to 22% in the latest results. Smartphone ownership rose 9 percentage points, from 35% to 44%.

Regardless of the type of tablet used, Americans are apparently spending a consistently lengthy amount of time on them per day -- an average of 90 minutes. Tablet users are also more likely than smartphone users to read longer news articles on their devices, with 73% saying they did so at least some of the time. Fully a third of all U.S. adults now get at least some of their news on a mobile device.

"Even with the broadening population and wide range of competing activities, mobile owners are drawn to news on their tablets and smartphones," Project for Excellence in Journalism deputy director Amy Mitchell said in a statement. "The evidence is also mounting that mobile devices are adding to, rather than replacing, how much news people consume."

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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