Tools & Technologies

Increased Number and Diversity of Commonly Used Devices


With the introduction of some amazing mobile devices over recent years, it’s no surprise that we have witnessed growth in the number and diversity of devices carried around by people. I’m always carrying two (smartphone and laptop or tablet), often three (smartphone, laptop, and tablet), and sometimes four (smartphone, Apple laptop, Windows laptop, and tablet). I’m not counting my Garmin step counter because I don’t wear a watch anymore.

Various research studies have looked at the increase in device count. For example:

  • Research by Sophos found that the “the average gadget user carries an average of 2.9 devices … with smartphones and laptops being the most popular.” There’s a nice infographic that shows devices by popularity: smartphone (85%), laptop (65%), and tablet (48%).
  • Lifehacker (August 2013) … out of 3520 respondents, 33% carry two devices, and almost 40% carry three or more devices. Nonetheless, 28% of respondents carry only a single device.
  • In September 2014, The Age reported on an Australian survey of mobile device ownership and use. “A recent Microsoft survey of 400 Australian professionals showed 83 per cent owned three or more types of device – smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets – which they used for different tasks. Just more than half the respondents were unwilling to carry both laptop and tablet at all times and therefore required a device that gave the best of both worlds, the survey concluded.
  • In early October 2014, there were officially more mobile devices than people in the world, with the rate of growth of mobile devices growing five times faster than people. Half of the world’s population does not have a mobile device, so the other half has on average two per person, although there will be some with one and some with ten or more. See The Independent.
  • Baseline (January 2016) … Samuel reflects on CES 2016, and comments that “most of today’s gadgets, gizmos and devices are either frivolous or incredibly overpriced. They are destined to go … absolutely nowhere.” Purpose, in Samuel’s view, is greatly missing from many newer devices.
  • Volker commented the other day on the Lenovo business convertible devices, saying “There is only one market segment for PCs that is not shrinking: 2-in-1 laptop/tablet combinations. Two prominent examples are the Lenovo Yoga line of consumer laptops at one end of the spectrum and Microsoft Surface (Pro) at the other end. The most exciting new entry into this market has been Microsoft’s Surface Book, which is both a full notebook and a light tablet in one. Lenovo is now going full in with very different configurations, targeting their business customers.” If many people are carrying a laptop and tablet, it’s no surprise the 2-in-1 segment is highly interesting / dynamic / contested.

How many devices is too many? Or perhaps better stated, what’s the right number in your work / world / life? Have you recently consolidated and gotten rid of a device?

Categories: Tools & Technologies