We find comfort in the familiar — and when it comes to our technology preferences, it's no different. In a recent report by my colleague Michael O'Grady he explored the key decision-making factors that drive tablet adoption among consumers. While shopper demographics and needs precipitate tablet purchases in a variety of ways, ultimate brand selection depends, perhaps, on even subtler characteristics. Certainly, there are those memorable advertising campaigns, such as the recent Windows 8 commercial that parodies Apple iPads, which influence our perception of tablet brands. However, less obvious factors such as previous technology ownership and operating system familiarity may direct our tablet purchasing behavior.

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that consumers tend to adopt tablet devices that run on the same operating system as their smartphone. Specifically, we find that US online consumers owning Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones seek out consistent operating systems on their tablet:

A recent article in Businessweek likened tablets to “the minivans of the information superhighway” because of their rapid proliferation and common accessibility. Set against the backdrop of this upward-bound adoption curve is the fight for market share among brands. As Michael states in his report: “Tablet adoption and use will remain a key focus going forward as battle lines are drawn . . . across the Android, iOS, and Windows platforms. The winners will be those that can position their devices and content to match the changing demographics of consumers . . . while maintaining form factors . . . that have made them so successful.” Additionally, further study into consumer preferences for familiar operating systems may lead retailers to more nuanced expectations of tablet adoption.