This fall, Microsoft and Google are set to release revolutionary new tablet PC devices which are expected to make a significant impact on the growing market.  The Nexus 7 from Google and Microsoft’s Surface both look to be promising new offerings, but recent rumors of a new iPad may indicate an even more impressive tablet is on the way.

The Big Three
Sources such as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all reported that Apple is set to release a new, 7.85-inch iPad later this year at a lower price point than the current iPad’s $499.  Despite the late Steve Jobs’ apparent opposition to a “smaller” Apple tablet, consumers seem to be favoring the devices for their increasingly improving resolution and lower cost.  While Google and Microsoft have publicly announced their plans to capitalize on this trend at their recent developer conferences, Apple has remained relatively quiet about their new tablet.

In fact, very little is known about the new iPad thus far.  The New York Times has revealed the suspected dimensions and price point of the tablet, but many other features are still speculative, at best.  While a retina display and iOS 6 functionality are expected to be standard equipment on the new iPad, only time will tell what Apple actually has in store.

Effects on Mobile Search, Social Media & E-Commerce
The upcoming face-off between Google, Microsoft and Apple in the entry-level tablet PC market is undoubtedly going to have a substantial effect on the mobile Web.  The reduced cost of these new tablets makes them more accessible to the tech-savvy (and cost-conscious) youth demographic.  This will almost certainly lead to a rise in social media and search engine usage via mobile browsers and apps.  Additionally, another rise in E-Commerce revenue similar to last holiday season’s online sales boom is anticipated following the release of the three new tablet devices.

What Online Businesses Should Expect
Once the new tablets debut in the final quarter of 2012, online businesses should expect to see an increase in mobile traffic.  Internet marketing efforts should include a heavy emphasis on social media and mobile E-Commerce platform optimization.  If online marketers remember 2012 as “The Year of the Penguin”, 2013 may very well be remembered as “The Year of the Tablet.”

We continue to cover the rise in smartphones and mobile device as well as how companies can strategically leverage the devices’ associated technologies and consumer behaviors to drive more business. From optimizing your web properties for mobile browsing and mobile searching to maximizing apps, mobile ecommerce (or m-commerce) opportunities, local search for in-store shopping and utilizing social media, there are seemingly endless possibilities for mobile.

Needless to say, mobile is huge and its impact on the way businesses will operate online in the years to come has only begun to be seen. And this is true internationally as well, much of the rapid growth that we saw in the US market over the past several years with rapid adoption rates and usage are now being experienced in developing markets. With new research out from Flurry, we can take a closer look at the state of mobile and app use across markets and see what it means for SEO and internet marketers.

iOS and Android Activations Are Highest in China
The numbers reflect a Chinese takeover of the lead for the monthly new iOS and Android device activations. The US previously held this mark for some time. In January of 2011, the US had 28% of total iOS and Android activations across the globe, while China had 8%. Last month, according to Flurry’s calculations, China surpassed the US in this metric. They predict for this month that China will hold 24% of all activations while the US drops to 21%, reflecting the explosion of mobile device adoption in China.

Take-away for international SEO companies and internet marketers:

  • China is the fastest growing mobile device market in the world – more of these devices are activated per month in the country than anywhere else.
  • These numbers deal with total sums so in terms of broadening your reach, there is great opportunity to capitalize on the huge number of people now using mobile devices in China.
  • Companies catering to the Chinese market, or even thinking about catering to this market should consider how they can leverage mobile to deliver on their goals.
  • E-retailers operating in this market can drive greater traffic to their products. Any improvements they make like creating more secure and easier payment processes (which is what is holding their growth back) for example, has more potential for a greater return due to the greater amount of people.
  • Local businesses in the Chinese market need to optimize for local search if they have not already. This is essential, especially considering much of the mobile users are in metro regions, areas where such businesses are located.
  • Use local social media platforms Sina Weibo and Youku to engage with users that are participating on these platforms on their devices.

Check back tomorrow, and I’ll be discussing the app data across various countries and what it means for SEO. If you have any questions regarding international mobile markets and how thy impact your business, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com – thanks for reading.

And our Director of SEO Strategy, Chris Countey, just spoke last night at SEO Grail’s March Meetup in Philadelphia regarding the use of specific SEO tools. Keep an eye out for his post on this main WebiMax blog explaining the details of his talk. Sure to be great information, so do check it out.