Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canadians love small, sleek tech -- and paper books

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E-READERS may be the hot gift this year, but Canadians still doubt tablets will trump trees as the reading medium of choice in coming years.

That consumer sentiment is among the more notable findings of a nationwide survey that plumbs people's vision of technology in the near future.

Just 37 per cent of Canadians predicted e-readers would replace print within the next few years, even as Amazon reports digital is outpacing physical in terms of book sales.

"Despite all the technology available to Canadians, one thing they're really holding on to is the book," said Robert Switzman, senior director of convergence at Rogers, which commissioned the survey.

E-books now account for roughly a quarter of U.S. book sales by volume, and 20 per cent by revenue.

But the Rogers Innovation Report, released this week, suggests Canadians are far more eager to jump into other areas of technology.

Nearly 80 per cent predicted they'd make more purchases using their smartphones in the next few years.

What's more, 82 per cent of Canadians expected to eventually use one device to control key household operations. This finding was of particular interest to Rogers, which just launched a Smart Home Monitoring service that allows people to remotely manage their thermostat, security system, lights and small appliances from smartphones or computers.

Finally, 85 per cent of Canadians expected laptops would soon shrink to fit in their handbags -- though Switzman said this is best interpreted as a desire for smaller, sleeker devices.

"When they think of the computing category, they're now blending in their minds everything from laptops to tablets," says Switzman. "People are going to have many screens in their lives, with each serving different purposes at different times."

The 1,010-person survey was conducted Dec. 6 to 7 and was weighted to be representative of Canada's adult population. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 23, 2011 B7

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