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Communications The Internet United States Hardware

US Says Internet Use Rises as More Low Income People Go Online; Tablets Surpass Desktops In Popularity (reuters.com) 80

Internet use by Americans increased in 2017, fueled by a rise among people with lower incomes, a government report viewed on Wednesday by Reuters found. From a report: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) also reported that for the first time tablets were more popular than desktop computers, and that more households had a mobile data plan than wired broadband service. The results were to be publicly released later on Wednesday. The survey results demonstrate the growing importance of the internet in everyday communication as the way consumers access content changes. Among Americans living in households with family incomes below $25,000 per year, the survey found internet use increased to 62 percent in 2017 from 57 percent in 2015, while households earning $100,000 or more showed no change at 86 percent. The gain of 13.5 million users was "driven by increased adoption among low-income families, seniors, African Americans, Hispanics, and other groups that have been less likely to go online," the agency said.

US Says Internet Use Rises as More Low Income People Go Online; Tablets Surpass Desktops In Popularity

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  • Especially if you want to get work done.
    Speed. Piece by piece hardware upgrades. Useful apps. Speed.
    • Bulky. Heavy. Hot. Power-hungry. Software not designed for touch.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Bulky. Heavy. Hot. Power-hungry. Software not designed for touch.

        Well, now that we've heard from the 80-pound teenager who only uses a computer for social media and Netflix binging, perhaps we can get back to discussing the computing needs for those who actually work with them.

      • Bulky. My system is only 14.00" x 10.20" x 14.00". Not very big
        Heavy. Its only 20lbs. 2 1/2 gallons of milk. If you struggling to move that, you have issues
        Hot. Nope. Runs at a nice 40C most of the time. I can get it to 80C gaming most of the day, but still doesnt effect the room all that much.
        Software. Best part. I have a mouse and keyboard. WAY better input than touch. Its a lot more precise and faster. If you paid any attention in your typing class, you should be able to pull 60WPM with no problem. A
        • Its only 20lbs.

          That's so light, only TWENTY TIMES the weight of a regular tablet.

        • So... you're able to build a PC and install software on it and do all of that, but you can't remember how to swipe your finger to show hidden things?

          I carry a PC which is 2lbs, has a respectable 8th Gen Core i7, a GTX 1060 and by the time it's a little old, I can get a new one and pass this one down to one of my kids.

          When I get to work, I plug it into a 27" Wacom Cintiq, and external keyboard and mouse. When I'm on an airplane, I can play video games with an XBox One controller on a VR display.

          As for temper
      • Hey, my VAX might be a little bulky, heavy, hot, and yea, power hungry, but the keyboard is so smooth! Designed for touch, and lots of it!
        • Please don't joke... I've actually been trying to buy a VAX this past month because I need something that runs DECTERM properly. The shipping on those things is a bit prohibitive though.
    • I use a tablet for looking things up and replying to emails, but I really don't do any serious work on it. I also get annoyed to hell about the forced mobile view of websites on Apple devices, it completely derails me because the PC website UI is different, so I end up doing things slower.

      When I need to do serious things, my laptop is my go to device. Most tablets still can't do half the things I need that a laptop or PC can.

      • I use a tablet for looking things up and replying to emails, but I really don't do any serious work on it. I also get annoyed to hell about the forced mobile view of websites on Apple devices,

        I"m largely like you....

        However, with the iPad Pro...I maxed mine out, I find that I can do more and more with it.

        The pencil has really opened up some capabilities I can use on the road. The processing power of the iPad pro seems to rival that of many laptops and I'd dare say some underpowered desktops.

        I'm amazed a

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          The desktop is dead, in favour of smart terminals and notebooks. Tablets are for the empty consumption of content and obviously will be the computer for the majority, along with a smart TV (keep in mind the 100IQ is average and at 100 you are not a big computer users or a content creator, still the majority market). Tablets are utter shit for creating content, just the way it is.

          Desktops are down to power users and M$ is busily pissing them off with forced software installs, using them as crash test dummie

    • Especially if you want to get work done. Speed. Piece by piece hardware upgrades. Useful apps. Speed.

      You mean with KDE, right? Otherwise I don't want weirdo, unsafe Windows crap on my consumer electronics. I'd take crappy ChromeOS over that, like most people.

  • If more people (whatever their income) goes online then internet usage will rise. No Duh.
    Tables are cheap computers, which can be given as gifts to low income people. Or purchased in installments with Cell phone plans, which may be easier for lower income people to get a hold of.

    • Tables are cheap computers

      I will give you the cheap, but they are not computers. They are electronic consumption devices.

      • Tables are cheap computers

        I will give you the cheap, but they are not computers. They are electronic consumption devices.

        Yes, they are, and perfectly designed for the internet consumption generation.

        It's no surprise the end user experience has been reduced to a touch-screen device with a voice assistant on it; most consumers are as dumbed down as the devices they barely know how to operate.

      • What is it in particular that a tablet can't do that a computer can.
        Realizing most stuff today on the PC is already cloud connected.

  • Tablets? What is this 2010; I thought that fad was more or less over; I don't know anyone who uses tablets besides kids. Cell phones... yes. Almost everyone I know is glued to a cell phone... but tablets seriously? This article is from 2018 not 2010 right?

    • I suspect they include 2-in-1 devices like the Microsoft Surface Book as "tablets" Otherwise this statements makes no sense whatsoever.
      • by Dzimas ( 547818 )

        Tablets are more popular than *desktops*, not notebooks.

        • I can read. I have a 10" tablet that came with a folio keyboard and runs Windows 10. I had several Android/iOS tablets and they couldn't do what I needed. If you count Windows 2-in-1's as tablets then yes...they are more popular than desktops/laptops.
      • Perhaps any cell phone 5.5 inches or larger?

        You can get cheap 5.5 or larger androids at walmart for under $100.

    • by Dzimas ( 547818 )

      You're in the wrong demographic. The Amazon Fire 7 is available for under $50 (as low as $29.99 last Thanksgiving) and the Fire HD 8 is discounted to $69.99 several times a year. They don't require data plans or monthly subscriptions, which makes them ideal for people on an extremely limited budget -- just head down to McDonald's or the local library for free wi-fi.

      • You're in the wrong demographic. The Amazon Fire 7 is available for under $50 (as low as $29.99 last Thanksgiving) and the Fire HD 8 is discounted to $69.99 several times a year. They don't require data plans or monthly subscriptions, which makes them ideal for people on an extremely limited budget -- just head down to McDonald's or the local library for free wi-fi.

        To be fair, I own one of those Fire tablets. And an Asus. I guess I personally own more tablets than desktops... I just never use any of them and I never see anyone else using them. I see more notebooks than tablets in public too.

        I guess the key is, everyone probably owns tablet(s) but that doesn't mean they use them.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The report the article is referring to is here [doc.gov]

      Apparently tablets are pretty popular... who knew?

    • Tablets more popular than desktop computers for browsing. The vast majority of desktop computers are used in businesses (where web browsing is usually prohibited) and by gamers. Most home users switched to laptops long ago, and most gamers also own a laptop for their non-gaming computer use.

      And tablets are very popular. They just have a really long usable lifespan, which caused sales per year to plummet once the market was saturated. Mine is going on 4 years old and I have no intention of replacing i
      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        And tablets are very popular. They just have a really long usable lifespan, which caused sales per year to plummet once the market was saturated. Mine is going on 4 years old and I have no intention of replacing it, whereas I get the itch to replace my laptop after 2 years and usually replace it by 3 years. I'd still be using my 8 year old tablet if the battery hadn't died.

        Funny, I've heard the exact same argument in reverse. Like the tablet is where you have Netflix, YouTube, social media, casual gaming etc. where you care about CPU/GPU power, "snappiness" and battery life while the laptop is relegated to typing up letters, resumes, long emails, blog posts, homework, making up basic checklists and spreadsheets etc. basically quasi-office work. I mean for me it would be completely unthinkable but we're not the average couch potato. For a lot of people having a "real" computer

    • ...Cell phones... yes. Almost everyone I know is glued to a cell phone... but tablets seriously? This article is from 2018 not 2010 right?

      Uh, back in 2010 we didn't have cell phones the size of fucking tablets. Could be part of the confusion.

      • so you're out of touch with how most people do computing, perhaps even while sitting at your gamer rig.... sounds like a first world problem

      • Where do you draw the line for the size of a tablet? The HTC Athena had a 5" screen back in 2007.

  • by Seven Spirals ( 4924941 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @01:54PM (#56744128)

    It's all some folks can get a hold of. When you are a kid, you just take whatever your parents give you. If that's a tablet or a Timex Sinclair 1000, then that's what it is. If someone wants to use a computing device (or any object) to be productive, then they can find a way (load a better OS, get a keyboard, etc..). It's not the kind of device you own, it's how much drive you have to learn and make the thing sing. I've met many Russians who grew up computing on the worst kind of Apple-II or PC clone, but learned a ton about computing and went on to do it "for real".

  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @01:56PM (#56744140)

    "...more households had a mobile data plan than wired broadband service" is an indictment against the absolute shit choices most people have vis-a-vis ISPs... if I believe that statement.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think this is more an issue of poverty, to an extent, though perhaps you are more correct than I am. That is, if you can only afford to pay for one service, either a cell phone or home broadband, then the cell phone is going to be more useful.

    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      Not necessarily. My sister has cell data only and told me she sometimes uses a free hour on the xfinity wireless by her house. I offered to make her an account on my xfinity to allow her to use it for free and she has yet to take me up on it.

      I'm forced to conclude she's happy using her phone for everything.
  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Thursday June 07, 2018 @02:00PM (#56744180)

    Watching a non-expert trying to use a laptop and then watching them using a tablet is a real eye opener. I expect tablets to bounce back from their niche in the next few years.

    • Just proves that they never bother to learn how to use a PC/Laptop.
      Yes, they are idiots. Not for not knowing how to use one, but for refusing to learn.
  • by oldgraybeard ( 2939809 ) on Thursday June 07, 2018 @02:16PM (#56744264)
    I am seeing more and more of the data entry coming from the field via tablets. They are replacing the paper that used to come back to the office. Now the forms are being filled out electronically in the field and pictures of things like bills of lading and load reports, etc are being inserted right in to the forms and being transmitted.
    The packets still get back to the offices but they are mostly archived and if used, it is only to sort out any issues with the data already in the databases.
    Tablets /w cameras really have a place in the effort to cut down on paperwork. And smooth the business processes.
    But a side effect of this will be, smaller office staffs , etc. And entry jobs such as data entry will become fewer.
    I am working with businesses that provide all their drivers and equipment operators with tablets, which they use for everything from daily time cards to filling out job sheets and work flow processing.

    Just my 2 cents ;)
  • A laptop with a large external monitor (or any kind of docking station) is a desktop.

    In fact, I would enlarge "desktop" to include any form of input-heavy computer use where you don't constantly have your own fingers occupying (if not obscuring) your field of view.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.

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