How You Get Mobile: Why Smartphones and Tablets Offer Different Experiences

portatil-tablet-smartphone” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by miniyo73

Smartphones and tablets might appear to be one and the same, but the reality is somewhat different. Yes, even though they perform similar functions and basically look like different sized siblings cut from the same circuit boards, the way in which each is used can vary quite dramatically. In fact, when you look through the various pieces of data out there, smartphones and tablets start to look a lot different. Perhaps the most obvious difference between smartphones and tablets is that the former offers the power of communication more readily. Even though you can use messaging services and software such as Skype via your tablet, the reality is that smartphones are more suited to communication.

Smartphones for Interaction

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According to Facebook’s 2017 Q2 earnings call, one billion people now use WhatsApp each day. From this figure, 55 billion messages and 4.5 billion photos are sent on a daily basis. However, when you take a closer look at the numbers, WhatsApp now serves 100 million voice calls per day. Now, we can assume that smartphones are used to send the majority of text messages but it’s not a given. However, when it comes to voice calls, smartphones are clearly the dominant medium. This suggests that phones are the go-to medium for communication among other things. Obviously, smartphones are also the go-to medium for a number of other services, including entertainment, games, and music. Looking at Business Insider’s list of most popular smartphone apps, Google Maps (57% of app users use this) and Pandora (41% of app users use this) are both present. From this, we can assume that services where portability is important are where smartphones thrive. So, whether you’re looking for directions or listening to music on the move, your phone will often be the device you use.

Tablets for Entertainment

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However, when it comes to noting the differences between the two mobile options, research suggests that tablets are the preferred method for gaming. Back in 2013, Forbes reported that tablets users spent 50% of their time on screen playing games and watching movies. With a larger screen and a more immersive experience, it’s easy to see why tablets are more suited to games of all styles. In fact, when you scroll through a recent list of the most expensive games ever made, many of the top titles are now tablet hits. For example, Grand Theft Auto cost $265 million when it was released in 2013 according to gaming brand Lottoland. Thanks to this level of investment, it’s tablet software was voted one of Android Authority’s top games that same year. In more recent times, Android Authority has ranked another Rockstar Games released, Bully, as a top tablet option, while Techradar is big on Active Soccer 2 DX.

Move with the Mobile Trends

Essentially, if you’re pitching a mobile product to the masses and your focus is one communication and interaction, smartphones are the obvious choice. In contrast, if entertainment is your business, tablets appear to offer the more appealing experience. Of course, these devices aren’t so different that you can’t offer communication and tablets and entertainment on smartphones. However, if you look through user trends over the last five years, it’s easy to see that some apps are more suited to one than the other.