Last weekend I had my hands full and I needed to take my Kindle with me. So, I put it in my back pocket. That may not sound like a big deal, but it got me to thinking about the role of tablets in our lives and how that is going to change with the adoption of smaller tablets.

We already know that people use phones and tablets differently for shopping. Phones are used to find stores, price check and get more information. Tablets, which have typically been 10 inches across and heavy, are used as shopping tools, but rarely leave the home environment. The smaller tablets which are 7 inches can bridge the gap between their mobile brethren and could change the shopping experience.

Imagine having a shopping aid in the store where you can actually access to website and product information, reviews, etc. of the store you are in and the websites of competitors. Smaller tablets like the Apple iPad Mini, the Google Nexus 7, and the Amazon Kindle HD are all very capable in this department. So, while many stockings may be filled with these devices this year, I expect that next year consumers will be using these devices to help with shopping in new ways that we can only dream of today.