Are tablets about to get a promotion in the workplace?

Are tablets about to get a promotion in the workplace?

Summary: Smartphones may fall out of favour as more enterprise apps move over to tablets.

TOPICS: Mobility, Tablets
Can tablets more from being nice-to-haves to being business essentials?

Tablets — usually considered a nice-to-have in the office compared to smartphones and laptops — could be due for a bit of a promotion.

According to research, nearly three-quarters of organisations are issuing corporate-owned laptops (74 percent) and smartphones (71 percent) to their workforces, while less than half of businesses dish out tablets.

But the analysts at Frost & Sullivan said the number of business-issued tablets will rise over the next three years "as many of the more data-intensive mobile applications migrate over to the tablets".

By 2016, enterprise ownership and regular usage of smartphones is expected to decrease from its current base of 66 percent to 58 percent, while tablets are expected to increase from 49 percent to 56 percent — almost the same level.

The research also found that while almost 60 percent of organisations allow personal devices to be connected to the corporate network, only four out of 10 of the IT decision makers questioned said their company has a formal bring your own device (BYOD) policy in place. The number is much lower in small businesses, where only one in five has a formal BYOD policy.

Android is the most commonly operating system (56 percent) for business owned-devices, according to the survey, followed by iOS (41 percent), Windows Phone (30 percent), and BlackBerry (28 percent).

Frost & Sullivan said there was a general trend towards more remote and mobile workers, and less office-bound ones, "signifying greater opportunities for smartphone and tablet makers".

PC makers have been trying to work out what to do about the rise of tablets both in the consumer market and in business, leading to an array of new concepts and form factors such as Microsoft's Surface with somewhat mixed results.

Further reading

Topics: Mobility, Tablets

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  • the phone size screen is too constraining.

    May be great if you have eagle eyes and bird like fingers otherwise not so much... though a pen can help there's still the seeing it issue.

    BTW folks seriously put the phone down... I see people at the gym texting on their phone in their underwear or worse... finish a task for Christ's sake! the phone can wait.
    • Not to mention they are more expensive!

      We went from blackberry to iphone at work about 2and a half years ago.

      Our current fleet of phones are iphone 5's that apple haven't sold for about a year - and I think that says it all. There are some ipad 2's around still - around about 20/25 if I remember, but in the spring there was a massive purchase of ipad mini's, and they've been a massive hit and we're looking at deploying more. There's been some interest in the a it's but not much.

      There was a brief proposal to combine laptop and tablet deployment with windows 8 tablets (raised by myself) but this was voted down partly due to different upgrade cycles, but also out and out cost.
  • Are tablets about to get a promotion in the workplace?

    No. There is no use case for the tablets in business. They can use the laptop if they need the functionality that a tablet provides.
    • Um, no they can't

      Let's say you want to to take away the front counter, and your Squirrel system in the restaurant, and move to a sleek NFC billing system.... do you think some idiot waiter is going to haul over some huge alienware?

      No. They're going to use tablets.

      Do you think someone scanning QR codes on a warehouse floor is going to be hauling around some enormous clamshell? No - they're going to be bringing around a Nexus 7, Dell Venue, or an iPad Mini.

      I think we tend to forget that most of the world's work is not done in an office sitting beside the Careerbuilder monkeys.
      • I think both of your use cases suggest phablets and not tablets

        Something that can be put in a pocket to free up the use of both hands.

        The trouble with 7-8 inch tablets, is they don't do anything that a phone or phablet can also do and they are bigger and harder to carry around.

        I'm sure they all have their specific use cases, but the point of arguing about using phones and tablets as work devices is getting a tad absurd. They represent very small amounts of what people actually do.
      • POS

        I am not sure you should count POS specific device among tablets, my reasoning being they were here before the consumer tablets and the vast majority of POS are still connect to a pc. As far as warehouse use, there are specialty devices that do a better job then consumer tablets. But your premises is correct that a lot of work takes place outside the office where a tablets superior mobility make it a better solution than a clamshell laptop. With that said I then at least in those two examples; the rival isn't the PC but specialty usually connected to a backend system sold as complete solutions.
        • That used to be true

          But I've noticed the vertical people are getting out of hardware. I was in a huge warehouse recently where the logistics people were scanning out stuff they were shipping with just a plain generic iPad, that corporate had put a corporate app on for.

          Saves them a fortune on vertical-specific hardware, and has all the barcode scanning, photo taking, and data entry capability required.
    • I have to disagree

      I have to disagree on this one, Tablets provide better mobility option than laptops. While enterprise environments are not the ideal place for them due to security and compatability concerns. from a mobility standpoint they are currently best option; if application can be made to suit tablets there is a big up side to them. Being able to use them in meeting, in the field and manufacturing floor is huge. Will they replace laptop as the primary computing device... no not for a long time but there might come the day where most pcs are Tablet form factors.
  • The interface is not the same as the device

    It would seem that we get hung up on the interface over the device itself. Why not have a singular device that manages your data and the interface with various input and output devices? Create a portable hub that provides the right combination of size and portability and optimize the interface with other devices that communicate with that hub.

    The right device eventually will be portable and universally accessible, shrinking the typical employee technology footprint significantly.
  • Depends

    My enterprise is prepping for Windows 9 by getting IE11 out now. We are also testing out PC hybrids and 2:1s like the Dell Venue 11 Pro and the Lenovo Yoga for alternatives to our general placement ultrabooks. Our thoughts are why support 2 devices along with licensing costs when we can just support one.

    We are supporting BYOD and Android and iOS tablets make up that population but frankly we have seen little value in supporting them over a PC when PCs are getting just as thin, light, and touch enabled.
    Rann Xeroxx