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November 19, 2012

Tech gift guide: Pick your gadget path carefully

(Continued)

On one hand, that's great for consumers, who may want to be able to note something on their smartphone during a commute and have it show up later on their desktop at home. But it also creates a much stronger "halo effect" — the term technology analysts use for the buyer habit of sticking with a single company's gizmos because it's convenient.

Shoppers with iPhones looking for tablets naturally gravitate toward the iPad, for example, because they know their movie, music and book collections will appear on both devices instantly. According to a Yankee Group survey of 12,000 consumers, 78 percent of iPhone owners also have iPads, while only 21 percent have Android tablets.

A smaller survey conducted by Yankee Group showed that current device ownership is a strong predictor of future buying habits. For example, 91 percent of iPhone owners would buy another iPhone — and that's a shorthand explanation of why tech industry insiders and investors are so obsessed with who is up and down in market share.

Worldwide, Apple has the advantage with more than 50 percent of the tablet market, while Google holds around 75 percent of the world smartphone market, according to figures from the International Data Corp. But the landscape is ripe for change as more people snap up tablets in the coming year. The United States, in many ways, is the nexus of the growing tablet market, and in July, comScore reported that Google held just more than 50 percent of the market to Apple's 30 percent.

There are a couple of ways to avoid lock-in, particularly when it comes to things you create yourself. Companies are starting to release apps into each others' stores to make lock-in a bit less drastic. For example, you can get your Kindle books on your iPad or your SkyDrive documents on Android tablets with a limited amount of fuss. But those apps don't come with all the perks of going all-in with a certain company. Kindle apps, for example, don't get access to Amazon's lending library of free books — even for users paying for the company's subscription service.

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  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

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    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

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    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
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    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

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  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

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