Forrester Research has some advice for businesses mulling whether to support Apple iPad, RIM's PlayBook, HP's Slate, Cisco's Cius or Android tablets such as the Motorola Xoom.
Following the tablet frenzy of the 2011 Consumer
Electronics Show, it's fair to ponder the question of how tablets from RIM, Hewlett-Packard,
Cisco, as well as the slew of Android tablets, will fair among corporate employees.
For example, while the RIM PlayBook may boast enhanced
security, the Cisco Cius superior unified communications integration and the HP
Slate full Microsoft Office support, these gadgets will find it tough to
penetrate enterprise accounts, according to Forrester Research analyst Ted
Noting that the PlayBook, Cius and Slate will be sold
primarily to companies, Schadler
in a Jan. 5 blog post:
"In a world of smartphone and tablet consumerization
where employees bring personal devices to work, the leading ABi (anything but
iPad) business tablets are being sold through the enterprise door. This will
slow down adoption as IT buyers find the budget and evaluate the alternatives.
In contrast, iPad is available to consumers as well as directly to businesses."
Schadler also said that while the iPad is great for "dual-use,"
or work and play, he's not sure the PlayBook, Cius and other gadgets will be as
iPad also has a more than one year head-start on most tablets
and is prepping for an iPad 2 launch this spring, making it extra challenging
for the non-iPad tablets to gain traction in businesses that have grown to
trust the iPad.
However, it's also conceivable Android-based consumer-oriented
tablet such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the forthcoming Motorola Xoom
and other Android tablets will enter the enterprise from
consumers bringing their personal devices to the workplace.
While Schadler expects a big year for iPad in the
enterprise, it's quite possible the Android invasion could curb some of that
firepower by the sheer number of devices.
It happened in the smartphone sector. No reason to
believe it can't happen in the burgeoning tablet market, which he said could reach
82 million tablet owners by 2015 in the United States.
Schadler's advice for IT professionals? Test the iPad
For example, the Motorola Xoom, slated to launch
next month, has dual cameras running on a 10.1-inch screen.
This capability would be ideal for Google Talk sessions for consumers and knowledge
workers. The iPad lacks cameras, though the iPad 2 will have them.
It doesn't have to be Android, of course. RBC's Mike
the PlayBook he tested at CES impressed.
"Hands-on PlayBook demonstrations at CES showed its
differentiation in multitasking and performance, which may be difficult for
Apple/Android to rival" Abramsky wrote. eWEEK's Nicholas Kolakowski also took the PlayBook for a spin and had favorable impressions
But whatever an enterprise does, Schalder cautions that it must prepare to support smartphones and tablets running different
"So build flexibility into your device security and
management platform, application development strategy, carrier selection,
reimbursement practices, and dual use or employee-provisioned policies,"