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There’s little doubt that tablets are changing the concept of personal computing, but we’re still learning quite a bit about exactly how that process will evolve. Zite, one of several companies building news-reader products for tablets, launched a new feature Friday in response to an internal study that suggests people are sharing tablets within a household.
Zite will now allow its users to have multiple profiles within its tablet application, so that more than one member of a household could take advantage of the personalized content profiles that one can set up in Zite and other newsreaders such as Flipboard and Pulse. Zite surveyed its users and found that one third of them share their iPads with other members of the family or household, in some cases between three or more people. That’s not a huge number right now, but as tablet adoption grows to include those beyond the early-adopter profile, the number could change.
If the smartphone is the ultimate personal computer and the desktop is the family utility computer, the tablet seems to be settling into some sort of hybrid usage model in which it is primarily used by a single person but shared within members of a close group. The iPad itself doesn’t support multiple profiles at the moment (although some options are available for jailbreakers), and it will be interesting to see if Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) considers that a priority worth baking into iOS down the road.