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Tablet Computers Now Owned by 1 in 10 US Adults

A new study conducted by Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism in collaboration with The Economist Group found that more people are flocking to tablet computers, especially for reading news each day.

The study looked at the behavior of 1,159 tablet users and 894 who consume news on their tablet weekly, to make up a representative sample of the U.S. population.

The report revealed that 77 percent of tablet owners use their devices daily and about half (53 percent) read news on their devices each day.

Consuming news — everything from the latest headlines to in-depth articles and commentary — ranked as one of the most popular activities to do on the tablet, about as popular as sending and receiving email (54 percent email daily on their tablet) and more popular than social networking (39 percent). About 30 percent of tablet users play games on their devices, while 17 percent read books and 13 percent watch movies and videos.

The only activity that people said they were more likely to do on their tablet computer is browse the Web (67 percent). [Read: 7 Gadgets That Changed the World]

Tablet news users also say they now prefer their new devices over traditional computers, print publications or television as a way both to get quick news headlines and to read longer pieces.

The demographic makeup of the tablet-owning population is one reason tablet use has taken off, according to the report.

“In general, tablet users are middle-age, higher-income working individuals who follow the news more closely and more frequently than the population overall,” the report said.

The study also found that these early users turn to the Internet as their main source of news much more frequently than the public overall. Overall, 71 percent of tablet users prefer reading and listening to news rather than watching it, compared with 45 percent of all U.S. adults.

In addition, two-thirds of tablet news users have a news app on their tablet, while 40 percent of tablet users get their news mainly through a Web browser, the report said.

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