The place: San Francisco. The time: a Saturday afternoon.
The scenario: after lunch, two out-of-town couples find themselves in a neighborhood where taxi cabs are scarce. One of the women remembers a new iPhone app called Uber that allows you to wirelessly order a Lincoln Towncar and bill the trip to a credit card.
Elapsed time between signing up with Uber and the car arriving: 10 minutes. Estimated incremental cost above a traditional cab: $7.
In my last post, I talked about how companion screens are changing the TV landscape. It’s easy to see how our ever-present smartphones and iPads can alter the TV viewing experience. (“I’m sorry dear, could you repeat that? I was checking my Twitter feed and responding to this IM, and I couldn’t hear you over the intro to Mad Men.”)
But what are people really doing on those companion devices? According to a white paper published last year by Yahoo! and the The Nielsen Company, nearly a quarter of them are looking up something related to what they’re watching on TV.
Pop quiz: How many screens does it take to watch television programming? For a growing number of people, the answer is two — a TV, plus a media tablet or mobile smartphone. That may seem counterintuitive, but for many of us (present company included) a mobile “companion” device has become an essential part of the living room TV experience.
According to a Nielsen survey of 12,000 connected device owners, 70 percent of tablet owners and 68 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV. Tablet owners in particular seem unable to put down the iPad while flipping channels, with respondents saying that nearly a third of the time they spend using their device is in front of the TV.