The big mobile news this week is IDC’s prediction that tablets shipments will exceed portable PC shipments for the first time in 2013. IDC further predicts that tablets will outpace all PC shipments by 2015. While many in the investment community are focused on the financial implications of the fall in PC demand, the rise in tablets in about more than economics. They are changing the way we do business.
Beyond a Fad, Almost a Tablet Platform
At 59% growth this year and nearly 230 million units, there is little doubt that tablets are no fad. Some people even consider tablets a platform. Consider Quartz, The Magazine and The Loop. All are magazines designed for publishing on tablets and in particular the iPad. Ben Bajarin recently wrote in Tab Times about how disruptive tablets are becoming to the publishing industry. But it doesn’t stop there.
With its light form factor, day-long battery life and bright, sizable screen, from an application perspective it is a platform. We see tablets popping up in retail, healthcare, construction and other professions where workers are mobile by necessity and laptop form factors don’t work.
Implication for the Enterprise
A great deal of enterprise mobility discussions revolve around smartphones. That makes sense. Everyone has one. They pose potential issues for security given the inevitable cross-over between personal and professional use and the ease of loss or theft of the diminutive devices. They are also productivity accelerants that contain an ever-growing number of useful apps that power daily business activities.
However, tablets are not smartphones. They are portable, but less so. They aren’t ideal for voice communication. They are exceptional when portability and data presentation or screen real estate is an imperative. While tablets aren’t likely to eliminate the laptop in the enterprise, they are providing new ways to utilize mobile computing to complete core job tasks and offer new services to customers.
The question for the enterprise is how are you using tablets in your organization? If it’s just for executives perusing email, you are missing the real opportunity.