The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

Summary: The next round of tablets aiming at Apple's iPad won't necessarily be looking to go toe-to-toe with the device. Instead, tablets from HP and RIM will be deemed a success if they can keep Apple out of the enterprise.

SHARE:

The next round of tablets aiming at Apple's iPad won't necessarily be looking to go toe-to-toe with the device. Instead, these tablets---namely from the likes of Research in Motion, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard---will be deemed a success if they can keep Apple out of the enterprise.

Here's the calculus if you're aiming for the iPad dominated tablet market:

  • You're not going to beat Apple at the iPad game. Most challengers will be happy to scream "we're No. 2!"
  • The enterprise is another story. Apple has traction in the corporate world with the iPad and is rumored to be ramping up an enterprise push. However, Apple won't have the sales army that traditional business technology players can bring.
  • If HP, RIM and Dell can get traction in the enterprise, they will chalk up a key win and defend their core businesses. And it's unclear whether Apple even wants to play in the enterprise.
  • Samsung is going for partnerships with Cisco for VPN's to garner enterprise interest.

Add it up and you have a bit of offense mixed in with a lot of defense in a core market. We'll soon find out how this grand plan plays out for iPad challengers. RIM will launch its PlayBook April 19. And at the CTIA conference in Orlando, Samsung talked up its latest Galaxy Tabs. Both RIM and Samsung arrive with competitive price points.

Related: RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook prepped for April 19 launch

The goal for RIM and HP (and to a lesser degree Samsung) is to play the enterprise game.  HP CEO Leo Apotheker and RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie may talk about the consumer benefits for their respective tablets. But the real aim is to defend the enterprise.

Last week, Apotheker was asked repeatedly about the tablet market. He said:

HP is the world's largest provider of PCs by far; PCs of any type -- desktops, notebooks, notebooks, etc. And HP happens to be the world's largest provider of printers, bar none. Laser printers, inkjets, personal printers, commercial printers, you name it. So from that point of view we have a position of scale that is unmatched in the industry.

We just announced our new devices -- the touchpads and the two smartphones. We haven't shipped them yet so right now we don't compare really well with anyone because we haven't done anything yet. But going forward we don't intend to play in the junior league in this business either.

Apotheker also noted that HP would ship WebOS tablets as well as Windows versions. These tablets will inevitably be pushed as part of HP's overall IT stack and cloud computing plans.

RIM's strategy has been clear. Balsillie has talked up the PlayBook's consumer capabilities, but we all know this tablet is about business. In December, Balsillie said:

CIOs understand and trust the BlackBerry Enterprise Server security model and are pleased that security will be extended to the BlackBerry PlayBook. We're committed to ensuring that the BlackBerry PlayBook is enterprise ready for launch by delivering on key customer requirements, including pairing between BlackBerry smartphones and BlackBerry PlayBook, secure enterprise VPN, true multitasking, document viewing and editing, and a best-in-class web browsing experience. PlayBook offers numerous opportunities to transform businesses and our partners are eager to explore how BlackBerry PlayBook can help transform their business operations and customer engagements, with some customers delaying their plans to deploy other tablets in anticipation of the PlayBook launch.

Analysts have followed up on that theme and noted that there appears to be pent-up demand for the PlayBook.

Dell has a similar story with the enterprise focus. The company is tailoring the different flavors of its Streak at verticals such as healthcare. The rest of the field---ranging from Samsung to Motorola Mobility---also see tablets as a way to do business.

The wild card for all of these tablet players will be luring just enough consumers to be cool. Let's face it: The days of handing out a device to employees are largely over. Workers are bringing their own gear to work and increasingly that means Apple, which may step up its enterprise game just a bit. After all, 80 percent of the Fortune 100 are testing or piloting the iPad. The challengers---HP, RIM, Motorola Mobility, Samsung and Dell---have the sales teams, CIO relationships and know how to cater to the enterprise, but they still have to produce tablets that will appeal to the average worker.

In the end, the next round of tablet battles will be fought in the corporation.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, BlackBerry, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

60 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Apple's false stat

    I really hate the 80% of enterprise is testing / piloting. It means nothing as they are not tracking what is the outcome. Did they decide to deploy after? How large? Are they replacing another solution etc?

    For example we piloted iPad last year with 10 users but have no plans to deploy it and are very interested in the RIM solution as we already have a huge RIM deployment and understand how it will intergrate with our business. Every single Apple product is about intragrating with the iTunes EcoSystem.

    The need for iTunes and credit cards for iTunes accounts are the main reason we likely will never deploy iTunes at a larger scale.

    BYOT will trickle in some users but those users will likely be restricted to email access only as the tablet "standard" gets custom apps, Microsoft Lync support etc.

    It all depends on if any of these tablets can provide a compelling solution for enterprise and right now no one has it all. Apple has a solid tablet but its far from perfect.
    MobileAdmin
    • Same thing here

      @MobileAdmin
      We piloted almost 100 of them, and they're far from an enterprise device. How do you manage applications and versions across an environment? Why is there no decent authentication scheme for logging in? How do you securely manage data that's not appropriate for the cloud?

      The execs will check their email on it. They may even browse the web. But we learned from the pilot there's no way we can deploy very many of these, so we're looking at other devices. I wish they would make the device business ready - it would be a great thing to hand to many people and have very little tech support. But they're not, and I think it's deceptive for all these articles to claim the iPad is an "enterprise" device. The hardware is, but the whole software ecosystem is set up for home use.
      crazydanr@...
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @crazydanr@...

        Totally agree with your points. Its easy with BYOT as you don't need to concern with these things but in the corporate liable / supported model I need to care greatly about App procurement / management.

        Sadly most of these tech blobs seem to cater to consumers. I've been to many industry conferences and everyone talks about it but no one seems to have a means to do it (at a large scale).
        MobileAdmin
      • I remember when the iPhone first made

        @crazydanr@...
        the scene and for at least a couple years after that there was a constant claim on sites like this one that the iPhone would or could not make it in the "Enterprise" then slowly at first articles on Zdnet and other sites began to have stories of the iiPhone showing up in of all places the Enterprise. Now even today the iPhone is not in all businesses or Enterprise that I'll grant you but you'd be hard pressed to find a responder on an iPhone related article claiming the iPhone is NOT enterprise worthy or ready cause well it's in the enterprise at least some:) Were you guys one of those who made such comments about the iPhone?

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @crazydanr@... I think your points make a lot of sense. I tend to agree with you on them. We'll have to wait and see though.
        <a href="http://www.lumpsumprofitsguide.com/ryan-moran">Ryan Moran</a>
        krtinberg
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @crazydanr@...
        Thanks for sharing! fantastic article, I'm glad to have been able to read this. community is full of responses!
        - Steph
        <a href="http://www.evergladesrestaurant.com">Orlando Seafood Restaurant</a>
        StephAugstine
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @crazydanr@...
        This was an excellent read, as always. Great stuff like this is what keeps me coming back.
        <strong><a href="http://www.my-seattlechiropractor.com">Seattle chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-sanantoniochiropractor.com">San Antonio chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-orlandochiropractor.com">Orlando chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-nashvillechiropractor.com">Nashville chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-chicagochiropractor.com">Chicago chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-austinchiropractor.com">Austin chiropractor</a></strong> <strong><a href="http://www.my-atlantachiropractor.com">Atlanta chiropractor</a></strong>
        epark732
      • The Galaxy 2 is fantastic

        @crazydanr@...
        Apple will continue to have dominance, but the Samsung is doing a great job a few years ago was unthinkable. The Galaxy 2 is a jewel of technology. Your information I have introduced a new thing, and that's why I thank you.
        <a href="http://www.fuoristradausati.net">fuoristrada usati</a> and
        <a href="http://www.suvusati.net">suv usati</a>. thanks, regads
        SirMio
    • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

      @MobileAdmin I believe that Apple has a corporate developer option so that the applications that are created in house can be installed on your devices ipad ,iphone etc from your own servers. No need to install anything from itunes.
      rfpower
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @rfpower
        You are absolutely correct. it is their Enterprise Developer Program. It took me less than a minute to find it online . . . and yes, that is a "dig" at those who spread FUD without bothering to check. You can find information here:
        http://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @rfpower @ptorning

        Well aware as we are already a member of the enterprise level developer program. Apple lacks the OTA delivery that RIM and others have. Who wants to sideload through iTunes? Reality is Apple needs to remove iTunes from the equation. It's not needed for enterprise and another point to manage.
        MobileAdmin
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @MobileAdmin
        "Who wants to sideload through iTunes?"

        That's a fair point. It would be manageable for a business with a few devices but an enterprise with many or numerous devices would find it unnecessarily obstructive.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @rfpower Now even today the iPhone is not in all businesses or Enterprise that I'll grant you but you'd be hard pressed to find a responder on an iPhone related article claiming the iPhone is NOT enterprise worthy or ready cause well it's in the enterprise at least some:) Were you guys one of those who made such comments about the iPhone? <a href="http://www.sanjosedentistdds.com">san jose dentist</a>

        <a href="http://www.yoursanfranciscoplumber.com">san francisco plumbers</a>
        lasvegasbacon
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        <a rel="follow" href="http://www.riseuniversity.com/schools-majors/performing-arts/"> Performing Arts degree</a>
        <a rel="follow" href="http://www.riseuniversity.com/schools-majors/political-science-and-public-administration/"> political science degree</a>
        <a rel="follow" href="http://www.riseuniversity.com/schools-majors/psychology/"> Psychology School</a>
        IanBell840
    • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

      @MobileAdmin Apple have really strengthened their enterprise offerings <a href="http://seobacklinks4u.com">SEO Backlinks</a>
      casper01
  • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

    The iPad is basically an entertainment device. Android and Honeycomb are not that much better for business integration. The new Samsung device may be more interesting already having some of the integration software in it. I will wait at least for RIM and probably for the HP WebOS device before making any decisions about which our company should use.
    hayneiii@...
    • &quot;The iPad is basically an entertainment device.&quot;

      @hayneiii@...
      Have you tried Numbers? Or Pages? Or Keynote? It might be an illuminating experience for you. Not saying that those apps would hit the bullseye for your company, but they certainly show the potential that the iPad has to be MUCH more than an "entertainment device".
      Userama
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @Userama Yeah and if you coupled that with a real dock they would be good... Oh but Apple fuckered that up with their portrait orientation dock!
        slickjim
      • Just curious, Peter,.......

        do you hold letters and most other documents in "landscape" when you read them?
        Userama
      • RE: The next tablet battleground: The enterprise

        @Userama
        I'm with you. Claims that the iPad is only an entertainment device or a consumption device can only be made by those who have never used one. There are a wealth of incredible creation apps for the iPad (and iPhone) - apps for sound, music, animation, movies, documents, image editing and so forth.
        Wakemewhentrollsgone