The screen size on a tablet might actually determine how often the owner actually uses it, based on a new report from NPD In-Stat.
NPD senior analyst Stephanie Ethier explained in a report that tablet manufacturers are trying to differentiate their products by display size to compete with the iPad:
Screen size has emerged not only as a key differentiator, but also the leading indicator of different tablet usages. New In-Stat research highlights top tablet usage scenarios based on device screen size and provides market insight based on the different tablet form factors. For example, tablets with smaller form factors in the 3.5" to less than 7.0" range best serve entertainment needs that are typically considered complementary to everyday activities like commuting, exercising, and other on-the-go activities.
This actually isn't terribly surprising. If you're going to use a tablet for activities that you would spend more time on (i.e. streaming movies or reading magazines), you're going to want more real estate on the device.
Thus, perhaps over time, tablet usage might balance out between those tablet owners using their devices for little tasks more frequently and those who dedicate periods of time for longer activities.
Nevertheless, NPD researchers posited that this trend could spell out more results for the industry overall. For example, worldwide shipments for tablets with screen sizes between 3.5- to under 7-inches will declined to by 2016, while tablets between 9.7- and 11-inches will represent 65 percent of global tablet shipments.
Furthermore, even as tablets around the same size as the iPad are expected to flourish, this could be helped even further along as NPD predicts 9.7-inch tablets will drop to roughly $246 by 2016 thanks to consumer demand matched by declining display costs.