Sunday Spectacle CLXXV

Technology Adoption in America

It's not easy to measure how quickly technology is adopted. One can come up with numerous methods, and the result can differ depending on how you count the starting point. Sometimes it is also hard to distinguish between devices. For instance, one of the sources below seems to count 'tablets' as something starting with the iPad, when a stricter view may place the starting point back in the late 90's or early 2000's (there were some tablets running Microsoft OS back then). Similarly, some people separate 'smartphones' from mobile 'feature phones' whereas others do not. In any case, the following graphs provide some insight into adoption rates.

As to be expected, technologies that required building out huge physical infrastructure (like the electricity grid or the telephone network) took a very long time. Based on the results quoted by The Atlantic, it looks like the 'boom box' had the fastest adoption after 7 years for an electronic device.

(source: "Guess What's the Fastest-Adopted Gadget of the Last 50 Years," Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic. March 23, 2012. Original data from "Diffusion and experience curve pricing of new products in theconsumer electronics industry," Tarique M. Hossain, Journal of Management and Marketing Research, Volume Six - January, 2011.)

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