According to a report by Flurry, tablets are close to reaching critical mass for both consumers and business. The company, reporting on over 6 billion application sessions across approximately 500 million smart devices, looked at over 30 million consumers who have opted-in to share demographic data.

“The chart above shows the distribution of age for smartphone versus tablet users across traditional age groupings (aka “age breaks”).  The blue bars represent smartphone consumers and greens bars represent tablet consumers,” wrote Flurry. “Each group of same-colored bars totals 100 percent.  On average, smartphone users are younger than tablet users, 30 versus 34 years of age.  Nearly three quarters of smartphone users are 34 years of age or younger, while more than two thirds of tablet user are 25 years or older.  Additionally, recent research from the OPA conducted by Frank N. Magid and Associates indicates that household incomes for tablet owners are becoming increasingly affluent, with 59 percent of household incomes for tablet owners surpassing $50,000 versus the U.S. average of 41 percent households with incomes over $50,000.”

“The pie charts above compare the gender split between smartphone and tablet users, with women shown in dark pink and men shown in blue,” added Flurry. “While smartphone usage trends slightly more male, tablet usage is nearly even.  Traditionally, males adopt technology devices more than women.  With an even gender split for tablets, this bucks the trend, indicated that tablets likely have more long-term mass-market appeal.”

Very interesting is this chart comparing the time spent across app categories between smartphones and tablets. “At a high level, consumers spend more time using tablets for media and entertainment, including Games (67 percent), Entertainment (9 percent) and News (2 percent) categories which account for nearly four-fifths of consumption on tablets,” said Flurry. “Smartphones claim a higher proportion of communication and task-oriented activities with Social Networking (24 percent), Utilities (17 percent), Health & Fitness (3 percent) and Lifestyle (3 percent) commanding nearly half of all usage on smartphones.  Games are the most popular category on both form factors with 67 percent of time spent using games on tablets and 39 percent of time spent using games on smartphones.  Further reinforcing that tablets are “media machines” is the fact that consumers spend 71 percent more of their time using games on tablets than they spend doing so on smartphones.”

Another interesting revelation is that consumers use apps on smartphones more frequently but for shorter periods of time. Tablets are used more for media consumption and during their free time, while smartphones are used during the day for things like checking into social networks and using utility apps.

“Studying smartphone versus tablet usage differences not only provides insight into how developers should consider form factor when designing app experiences, but also how digital distribution could disrupt the living room,” said Flurry. “As we imagine a world of connected TV, tablet usage gives us the best current-day hint of that world to come.  Tablet users are older, more female, and we can surmise, more affluent.  Additionally, they use more during the evenings and for longer sessions.  Finally they consume more media and entertainment experiences, with a significant proportion spent on games.  In particular, this would indicate that as Apple and Google enter the living room with connected TV initiatives, game consoles made by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would experience the greatest competition.  The distribution of content into the living room may also significantly change for network and cable television content providers.  In summary, the impact of smart devices on both work and play are profound.  With a bevy of significant companies vying for tablet hegemony, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung, developers and consumers should expect nothing short of tremendous innovation.”