Tablets stand to offer big benefits to consumers, manufacturers and enterprises - though to get ahead, says Gartner, they'll need to start exploring now.
It's time for businesses to start using tablets, like the Apple iPad,
according to Gartner analysts.
laptops and smartphones more than replacing them, tablets offer opportunities
for exploration, solutions for tricky deployments and a way of getting ahead of
competitors, Gartner said in the April 5 report, which echoes the findings of a
March 4 Unisys report that called on enterprises to make
a fundamental shift in their thinking about employee-owned devices.
the fast-rising adoption of smartphones by consumers saw IT managers scrambling
to keep the unsupported devices out of their enterprises, IT leaders, "in
the spirit of exploration," should figure out how to support tablets and
leverage their perks rather than fight them, Gartner said.
are determined not to make the same mistakes they made with smartphones, which
were often written off early as expensive and frivolous toys, or executive
status symbols-which then left room for more inventive leaders who saw the
competitive advantage that mobile applications would bring," Gartner Vice
President David Willis said in a statement. "They are also more willing to
see that they don't need to supply and manage every device that employees use
at work: Consumerization is here to stay, and moving very fast. If you can
think of an application for tablets, your competition may well be thinking in
the same way-and acting on it. It is time to explore the use of media tablets
added that companies that figured out how to secure and leverage the iPhones
arriving through their doors each morning were able to also develop a strategy
for the iPad within weeks of its launch.
leaders are clamoring to adopt media tablets with their sales teams, as a more
engaging way to share sales collateral and promotional materials. And it won't
stop there," he said. "Next will come customer relationship management
systems, and order entry and sales configuration applications. For sales
managers, media tablets will be a natural platform for business analytics and
performance dashboards. ... The opportunities are huge."
expects media tablet shipments to reach 69 million by year's end-compared with
2010's 16 million. In February, Morgan
Stanley raised its 2012 estimate to 100 million units.
growth is additionally benefiting component makers. An April 5 report from IDC
showed worldwide revenues for the semiconductors used in tablets and e-readers
to have grown more than 2,000 percent in 2010, to $3.3 billion. And there's no
sign of slowing down. With Google's tablet-optimized Android 3.0, dubbed
"Honeycomb," newly launched, dual-core processors coming to market
and increased bandwidth available to consumers as 4G networks expand, IDC
expects media tablet and e-reader semiconductor revenues to grow by 120 percent
year-over-year in 2011.
tablets have affected PC sales, with customers, curious about forthcoming
tablet offerings, temporarily delaying PC purchases, Gartner doesn't expect
tablets to replace either notebooks or smartphones.
a common mobile-worker scenario, employees may travel with a media tablet
during the day, but then return to their laptops in the evening for heads-down
data entry or content creation," the report stated.
while Apple was first to market, in the end the big winners in the tablet game,
said Gartner, won't be so much determined by device "fit and finish"
but the ecosystems that manufacturers develop around their hardware.
has built a curated application distribution mechanism in the App Store that is
notable both for how users hold it in high regard and how detractors see it as
a limitation," Gartner said. "In the end, Apple's lead will be very
difficult to beat."
adds the firm, it remains to be seen "who stands to benefit most from the
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.